JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - We're learning about a Jacksonville police officer who has been living in a half million dollar riverfront property that JEA owns for the last two years -- and not paying rent.
An investigation by our partner Action News shows the officer has been living there since May 2011 and that taxpayers have paid $15,000 in utilities since. JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce says they are working on a water project and bought the house for that.
"We kept the piece of property to to ensure that if project had a hang up, we could use this piece of property," said Boyce.
Boyce told Action News last week more security was needed for the project to protect it until it's finished. JEA, JSO, and the city all confirm that it is legal for the officer to live there.
JSO does allow officers to have a secondary job as long as there is no conflict of interest with their job as a police officer. Some taxpayers say that having to foot the bill for someone else's utilities is a conflict.
"If we're paying rent they should be paying rent. Bottom line," Jeramy Ford says.
JEA says taxpayers should be grateful they're trying to save their customers money.
"I think they'll be thrilled to know we did a cost analysis and this is the best way, and option for us to maintain the property and saving our customers money," said Boyce.
Boyce says the project is nearly done and once it is, JEA will put the house up for sale.