Jacksonville, FL - A Duval County School Safety Assistant has been arrested for pawning his department-issued service weapon twice.
SSAs are Duval’s version of a “guardian”, being employed as a result of a new state law that required enhanced security at every school, in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Applicants undergo a background check, psychological exam, drug test, polygraph, interview, and 200 hours of training from JSO and Duval County School Police, before being assigned to a school.
“This incident and the individual’s circumstances do not shake my confidence in the vetting process for our school safety assistants,” says Duval Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene.
DCPS Police say James Johnson reported this incident to his supervisor and confessed to what he did. The arrest reports obtained by WOKV show he was facing financial problems.
Arrest reports show he pawned the gun at two separate locations, over a few months. Through that process, he signed a transaction form verifying ownership of the gun three times, which resulted in the three felony charges he is facing, for false verification of ownership on a pawn broker transaction form.
We’re told he pawned his department-issued gun on two separate occasions. He’s been booked in to the Duval County Jail for false verification of ownership to a secondhand dealer.
“It is always difficult arresting one of your own, but we have the highest standards for the conduct of everyone affiliated with our police department,” says Police Director Michael Edwards.
DCPS is not disclosing what school Johnson was assigned to, but we’re told they have coordinated security coverage for that campus. Off-duty JSO have been working on school campuses to supplement the District, while they train more SSA’s to provide full coverage across all schools. The City of Jacksonville has previously expressed concern about how the cost of using JSO for this effort will be recouped, and they’re actively engaged with the District about that.
Johnson has resigned, according to police. His wife is a Duval elementary school principal, but there is no evidence she was involved.
We’re working to learn more about the arrest. This is a developing story that will be updated through the day.