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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 20, 201412:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Study says Police Department poorly managed

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A study of the Jacksonville Police Department conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police indicated the department’s major weakness was how its resources were directed, managed and controlled.

Other findings included the department was held in low regard, officers were paid low salaries and training was inadequate.

The study also concluded the department was “manipulatable,” police were subject to political pressure and the department was top-heavy in rank.

In addition, rules and regulations were “woefully out of date,” long-range planning was virtually non-existent and the mayor-commissioner often bypassed the chief in making policy decisions.

“The magnitude and critical nature of problems of police service in Jacksonville mandated intensive and deep study of its every aspect,” said A. Everett Leonard, director of the field service division of the association.

Mayor and Police Commissioner Haydon Burns said the city paid $23,800 for the study conducted by a five-member team of police experts. The funding was approved by the City Council and County Commission.

“If we felt the city had been perfect, we would not have put out that kind of money to have corrective suggestions made,” said Burns.

Police Chief Luther Reynolds said implementing personnel recommendations made in the study would take 10 years to complete.

Florida’s Sunshine Laws weren’t enacted until 1967, so when the 400-page study arrived in Jacksonville via U.S. Mail, Reynolds was in no hurry to make the findings public.

Asked by a reporter if he would allow the news media to read the report, Reynolds replied, “no.” He said it would be carefully studied by department administrative officers and “kept under wraps for a while.”

However, Burns decided copies of the study would be released to reporters before its evaluation by city officials, citing “mounting public interest.”

• When he wasn’t in Jacksonville bypassing the police chief on policy decisions, Burns, the Democratic Party candidate for governor, was on the campaign trail and responding to charges related to his personal finances.

His opponent, Republican Charles Holley, continued to level allegations that Burns had $1.2 million in a bank in the Bahamas.

At a news conference in Tallahassee, Holley presented what he said were bank signature cards and the report of a handwriting specialist. The cards, one an authority to mail vouchers and the other an authority to make a service charge, were signed “Haydon Burns” and carried the name “Bank of Nova Scotia.”

Burns, who already had denied he had an account in the Bahamas, said the cards were fraudulent. He also said all of his bank accounts were under the signature “W. Haydon Burns.”

Holley distributed a report by Harry Ashton of St. Petersburg, described by Holley as “an examiner of questioned documents.” The report said the signature on the cards was similar to the signature “Haydon Burns” that appeared on a letter from Burns’ office and a Burns campaign ledger.

Burns said he was not in his office the day the letter was signed. “Like all my office correspondence, it was signed by William White, my executive secretary for the past 15 years,” he said.

In addition, Burns said he was in Jacksonville all day on July 17, 1962, the day the bank signature cards were allegedly signed.

“Mr. Holley has once again presented fraudulent information,” he said, adding that he would not answer any more of Holley’s allegations.

Holley’s first statement that Burns had a secret account in the Bahamas was made Oct. 13. Three days later, Burns took 22 reporters to the bank and obtained a statement from the president saying the bank was authorized to state that Burns did not have an account and had never had one.

• First Baptist Church of Jacksonville announced plans for a $750,000 expansion program. The major element of the plan was a five-story building at Ashley and Hogan streets.

Homer G. Lindsay Sr., pastor of the church for 24 years, said the program was designed to provide facilities for the growing congregation, particularly in Sunday School.

The church in 1964 had a resident membership of 3,000 people. Sunday School enrollment had increased to 2,500 from about 1,800 in 1954.

Belton Wall, church administrator, said the project was significant for two reasons: First Baptist was experiencing steady growth when other urban core churches were losing members to churches in the suburbs. Second, the building would be almost debt-free when it was completed while other churches were issuing bonds or arranging mortgages to expand facilities.

The new building was scheduled to open in October 1965 in conjunction with Lindsay’s 25th anniversary as pastor.

• An experimental research buoy built in Jacksonville successfully passed its first sea trial about 40 miles east of the mouth of the St. Johns River.

The Seagoing Platform for Acoustic Research was towed to sea from the Mayport Naval Station carrier basin. It eventually would be used in a Navy program to advance anti-submarine warfare. Through its listening equipment, it would be possible to more easily detect enemy submarines.

The buoy, 354 feet long and 16 feet in diameter, was built by Aerojet Shipyards in Jacksonville. It was towed to sea in a horizontal position and then flooded to float in a vertical position. A reporter observing the operation from a circling Navy patrol bomber said after the buoy had filled with water and submerged 309 feet of the device, it resembled “a match bobbing in a bathtub full of water.”

After the initial tests, the buoy would be towed to Solomons, Md., where it would be equipped with vertical and horizontal hydrophone arrays, a radio direction finder, a gyrocompass and equipment to analyze waves.

• The Greater Jacksonville Industrial and Agricultural Fair, described as a “$90,000 extravaganza with everything from midway rides to a flower show,” opened an 11-day run in the Gator Bowl.

Duval County Agricultural Agent and Fair President James Watson said the 1964 edition would be “the top fair” in the 10-year history of the event.

U.S. Navy Capt. Arthur Decker opened the fair by slicing a ribbon with his ceremonial sword. He was the first person to enter the fair, joined by city and county officials and a band and color guard from Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

Dozens of exhibits were displayed at the fair promoting everything from temperance to soft drinks, pine oil to postage stamps.

Myriad competitions also were part of the fair.

In the window display contest, the Nancy Scott store took first place, Ivey’s department store and the Diana Shop tied for second, and third place was awarded to W.T. Grant.

The displays were judged on originality, completeness, adaptability and adherence to the fair’s 1964 theme, “Our American Heritage.”

In the fine arts painting category, “Sleeping Cats,” a watercolor by Dorothy Rawlette, was judged best in show. Charles Brown won the top award in the sculpture category.

“Big Russell,” a Hampshire hog owned by Aaron Taylor of Jacksonville, was acclaimed the grand champion boar in the livestock show.

The animal weighed in at 950 pounds, very little of it fat.

“There’s not a half-inch of back fat on Russell,” Taylor said.

The hog’s registered name was “Osteen’s Russell,” and he was the offspring of an Illinois grand champion valued at more than $10,000. Taylor said he had been offered as much as $1,500 for the hog, but had declined all inquiries.

“He more than earns his keep in stud fees at $35 each,” he said.

• The late U.S. Sen. Duncan U. Fletcher was eulogized at the dedication ceremony for a new high school by Florida’s senior U.S. Sen. Spessard Holland.

“Sen. Fletcher made the greatest contribution in national governmental affairs which Florida has had the honor to give to the nation,” said Holland. “He left behind a great name, a priceless legacy of patriotic industry, devotion to duty and lasting achievement in the interest of his country and of humanity.”

The new 2,000-student high school along Seagate Avenue in Neptune Beach was named by Duval County School Superintendent Ish Brant, who lived less

than a quarter-mile from the school.

Also nearby was the school being replaced by the new building, Fletcher Junior-Senior High School, also named for the late senator.

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