By Lise Fisher & Karen Voyles
Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Alachua County's crowded jail is getting national attention.
The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., selected the jail as one of three sites that will participate in its Jail Population Reduction Initiative.
The institute is an economic and social police research firm and will be responsible for coordinating jail population reduction efforts with federal, state and local officials. Plans to reduce overcrowding will be developed simultaneously at jails in Travis County, Texas, and Allegheny County, Pa.
In a news release about the project, Nancy LaVigne, who is heading up the project for the institute, said Alachua County was selected from among about two dozen applicants because it demonstrated "a strong commitment to working collaboratively and creatively to reduce (the) jail population while ensuring public safety."
The goal of the initiative is "to develop, implement and evaluate a data-driven plan" that will result in meaningful jail population reductions while use the savings for more proactive public safety measures.
James Bonds was among the 26 law enforcement officers who will soon begin patrolling the woods and waters in this area.
During his time at the academy in Tallahassee, Bonds and his classmates were tested on how well they handled firearms, alligators, boats, and ATVs as well as how knowledgeable they were in the federal, state and wildlife laws.
During his career, Bonds will be expected to be familiar with the 755 species of wildlife and more than 700 species of fish that the agency manages and protects on 34 million acres of public and private land, 8,200 miles of tidal shoreline, 3 million acres of lakes and 12,000 miles of rivers and streams.
DON'T TASE ME, CO-WORKER: It's tough being the new guy, no matter where you work.
Alachua County sheriff's deputy Marty Schenck found that out hours after he started his new job as an investigator earlier this month.
Schenck was working with two other investigators to find a fugitive. The man snuck out a window and was in the process of jumping a metal fence when one of the investigators Tased him.
At the same time, Schenck was jumping the fence to head off the man in case he rolled out of the Taser probes.
Schenck's reward for his efforts included contact with a slightly electrified fence because the Taser wires had become entangled. And Schenck tore his brand-new pants in the process.
Claims by other deputies that there was no teasing when Schenck returned to his office have been less than credible.