John Rutherford (sheriff)

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John Rutherford
Born September 2, 1952 (1952-09-02)
Nationality American
Alma mater Florida State University
FBI Academy National Executive Institute
Occupation Sheriff of Jacksonville
Religion Catholic
Spouse(s) Patricia
Children Michael and Alicia

John Henry Rutherford (born September 2, 1952) is a career law enforcement officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. He has served as Duval County Sheriff since his election to the office in 2003; his current term expires in 2015.


Rutherford was born in 1952 and has lived in Jacksonville since 1958. He earned an associate's degree in police administration from Florida Junior College, then received a bachelor's degree in criminology at Florida State University. Later, he attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and graduated in session 171. Also graduate of National Executive Institute.

Experience at JSO[edit]

Officer Rutherford started out as a patrolman in 1974 and rose to the rank of Captain. He has commanded a number of divisions, including Arson, Burglary, the Police Academy and Patrol on the Southside.

He also served as Chief of Services, Traffic and Special Operations, and Chief of Patrol.[1]

As Chief of Services, Chief of Traffic/Special Operations and Chief of Patrol, where he commanded over 700 uniformed officers.[2]

In 1995, Rutherford was appointed as Director of Corrections under then-Sheriff Nat Glover and held that title for 8 years.

In 2006 Sheriff Rutherford started the HITZ Program to stop transient nuisance crimes and help transient substance abusing persons into treatment rather than prison.[3]

Rutherford instituted programs in which officers walked the beat downtown,[4] Operation Safe Streets, Gun Bounty Rewards and a Public Awareness Campaign with Billboard, Radio and TV commercials.[5] Initiatives also include; Intelligence Lead Policing, Community Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement through LEAN concepts. By 2011 the City of Jacksonville was enjoying a forty year low in crime.


In February, 2003, a campaign violation complaint was filed by a City Council candidate alleging violations of the Federal Hatch Act of 1939, which prohibits employees working for federally funded agencies from running for office in partisan elections. Rutherford consulted a lawyer, and was told there was no conflict, but retired anyway, in order to remove any doubt, with 28 years of service.[6]


Rutherford campaigned for Duval County sheriff, running against fellow Republicans David Anderson and Lem Sharp. In the election on April 15, 2003, Rutherford won 135,038 votes, 78 percent of the total. He took office on July 1, 2003.

Rutherford was re-elected in 2007.[7]

In 2011, he was re-elected.[8]


Rutherford is married to his wife, Patricia. They have two children (Alicia and Michael) and five grand children, Michela, Hannah, Maria Vittoria, Kiera and John-Carlo. In an interview prior to his first election in 2003, he was asked what voters would be surprised to know about John Rutherford. His reply: "I'm still a surfer."


  1. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 13, 2003-Veteran cop Rutherford has vision for Sheriff's Office
  2. ^ [1] Sheriff John Rutherford Biography
  3. ^ [2] HITZ is a hit - Daily Record
  4. ^ [3] Merchants agree JSO’s effort to curb crime at Hemming Plaza is working. Daily Record
  5. ^ [4] Sheriff's Initiatives -
  6. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 1, 2003-Candidates accused of violating law
  7. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 3, 2007-DUVAL COUNTY SHERIFF: Rutherford is slow, on track
  8. ^ Treen, Dana: "John Rutherford wins re-election as Jacksonville sheriff" Florida Times-Union, March 22, 2011

External links[edit]