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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 27, 201512:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Police department reorganizes, says more officers and vehicles needed

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Jacksonville Police Department implemented its first major reorganization in more than a decade.

The changes involved a revamping of the beat patrol lines to give concentrated police services to areas where most crimes occurred.

Also involved were nearly 50 personnel shifts within the 400-man department, the promise of more patrol cars on the streets at all times and a 24-hour detective service.

The changes, brought about after a nine-month study, were intended to bring the department in line with a survey completed in 1964 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Before the changes, only 16 cars with uniformed officers were regularly responsible for patrolling the city at any given time.

Under the new plan, as many as 32 cars would be on patrol at peak periods.

To provide the increased coverage, some officers who previously worked traffic control at Downtown intersections would be reassigned to the patrol car detail, according to Assistant Chief R.C. Blanton Jr.

“Obviously, when you strengthen one area, you must reduce in another,” he said.

The most noticeable change was seen Downtown. Before the reorganization, only one car patrolled the area. Under the new plan, as many as seven could be in the urban core with others close by.

Due to a manpower shortage, one or more of the Downtown beats would be overlapped by nearby patrol cars, Blanton said.

He added that as soon as more officers could be hired and more vehicles made available, all beats could be covered.

• Update from a story last week: A six-member coroner’s jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide in the shooting of a man by an FBI agent.

A number of witnesses testified about what led up to the death of Johnnie Davis in a Downtown parking lot.

Davis was shot and killed by FBI Agent Donald Myers as Myers sought to arrest him on a charge of stealing from trucks.

During more than three hours of testimony before Justice of the Peace Dorcas Drake, witnesses described how Davis pulled a knife from his pocket and threatened to kill his pursuers, including Myers, as the agent sought to apprehend the suspect during a foot chase.

Although Myers did not testify, a statement he gave city detectives after the shooting was read during the inquest. In the statement, the agent related how Davis brandished the knife and tried to escape after Myers ordered him under arrest outside Marvin Kay’s Music Store at Duval and Main streets.

Myers said he fired his revolver four times during the chase. The last two bullets struck Davis, who died at the scene.

• In Tallahassee, Florida State University was presented 93 law books, the first gift toward establishing a college of law at the institution.

President John Champion received the books from Mrs. Marion Lamb of Tallahassee.

The books were given to Lamb by her late grandfather, Clifford Eugene Hay Sr., who died in 1964 after having practiced law for more than 50 years in Thomasville, Ga.

• A presentence investigation was ordered for the operator of an Atlantic Boulevard bottle club who was found guilty by a federal jury of violating the National Firearms Act.

Harley Bryan, 26, operator of the Candy Cane at 8631 Atlantic Blvd., was found guilty of possessing an unregistered handgun that fired a shotgun shell, which was prohibited by federal law.

U.S. District Judge William McRae Jr. deferred sentence, pending the investigation into the defendant’s background. Maximum sentence of the felony charge was five years in prison.

Bryan was arrested in 1963 after the club was raided by vice squad detectives from the Duval County Sheriff’s Department. Officers at the time seized from under the counter a .410 shotgun with a pistol grip and a 12-inch barrel.

The gun had been factory manufactured prior to the enactment of the National Firearms Act in 1934 and did not fall under the normal classification of a sawed-off shotgun but under the act’s “other weapons” category.

Bryan’s attorneys contended the gun was a pistol and did not come under the federal law. The government argued that a gun that fired a shotgun shell was not a pistol.

Federal law prohibited possession of a shotgun-type weapon with a barrel less than 18 inches in length or a rifle with a barrel less than 16 inches long unless the weapon was registered with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Unit of the Treasury Department.

Bryan’s gun was not registered, prosecutors said.

• In other firearm news from this week in 1965, Police Chief Luther Reynolds opined that selling guns in poolrooms was not in the interest of public safety.

Dan Reynolds, no relation to the chief, applied for a permit to sell firearms in his establishment at 1108 Forest St. On receipt of the application, the City Commission referred the request to Reynolds for investigation.

“I recommend that this request for a permit to sell small firearms be denied,” Reynolds reported to the commission. “I do not feel that a billiard parlor is the proper place for the sale of firearms and especially so in the continuous presence of young people.”

He said most of the patrons of Dan’s Billiards were youngsters.

• Three teenagers charged with illegal possession of alcoholic beverages were given unusual sentences: Spending their lunch hour cleaning Hemming Park.

The youths worked in the park for an hour each day for a week for the punishment recommended by the youth jury in Municipal Court.

While serving their sentences, they wore signs on their backs reading “Underage Drinking Got Me Into Trouble.”

Howard Rosenblatt, assistant administrator of the Jacksonville Youth Council on Civic Affairs, said Judge John Santora asked for the youth jury’s advice on punishment.

The teens swept the sidewalks, picked up trash and cleaned the monuments in the park.

• The Pennsylvania Railroad purchased controlling interest of the Arvida Corp., a Florida real estate development company managed by Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Co. of Jacksonville.

The railroad bought 3.3 million shares of Arvida, which had real estate holdings of about 100,000 acres in South Florida with a total valuation of $100 million. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Announcement of the transaction was made in Philadelphia by Stuart Saunders, railroad board chairman, and Comer Kimball, spokesman for executors of the estate of Arthur Vining Davis.

A major portion of the Arvida properties was acquired from Davis, who was former chairman of Aluminum Corp. of America.

• A Jacksonville group helping fight President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty was operating without paid staff. But the volunteers found taxpayers were not convinced that federal funds were not freely flowing to the battlefront.

After searching for permanent office space for eight weeks, the local unit of Women in Community Service moved into a two-room headquarters at 400 W. Ashley St. They had given up on moving into space in a government building or finding a business that would donate office space.

The organization was the screening agency for the Women’s Job Corps, a project created under the federal Economic Opportunities Act. It focused on young women, ages 16-21, unable to find a job.

Other qualifications included a candidate had to live in a family with an annual income of less than $3,000 and have her parents’ permission to seek employment through the program.

The local group began accepting applications June 7 in an office in the YWCA building.

“The YWCA very kindly let us use office space free for almost two months, but then they just had to have their facilities back,” said Mrs. Sol Goldman, Jacksonville program director.

She and Mrs. W. Robert Updegraff, assistant project director, said they tried for weeks to find free space. Government departments, including at the new federal building along West Bay Street, had no offices available, they said.

“When we called businessmen about donating some space, they laughed and told us to rent space with all those millions of dollars coming from Washington,” Goldman said.

In fact, the federal government was providing funds only for rent, office supplies and mailing expenses. The volunteers were not paid, even though they staffed the office 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The 300-square-foot office in the Adams Street building was leased for $3.75 a square foot annually, including furniture and utilities, Updegraff said.

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