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Jacksonville Police Chief petitions Attorney General's Office for jurisdiction concerns over Lake Jacksonville


The City of Jacksonville has recently petitioned the Texas Attorney General’s office for clarification over jurisdiction of Lake Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Police have patrolled the lake for years, and the city owns the lake, but the body of water lies outside of city limits.

Jacksonville Police typically patrol the water from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
According to Jacksonville Police Chief Andrew Hawkes, the officers who patrol the lake “are certified through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as maritime safety officers”.
Earlier this month Chief Hawkes, with the help of the Cherokee County District Attorney, submitted a request for an opinion to the Attorney General’s Office asking them to decide who has jurisdiction on the water, the Jacksonville Police Department or the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell says the county is not ready for this kind of expense if the opinion comes back suggesting they have jurisdiction of the area.

“It is very expensive. A boat, personnel, insurance, equipment, you name it. It is a very, very high dollar item even if you only use it about four months out of the year.”
According to Chief Hawkes, the Jacksonville Police Department spends about $11,500 in police labor to patrol the lake between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Boat repair, maintenance, and fuel costs come out of the city's parks and recreations departments budget.

Both law enforcement agencies say they’re not trying to abandon the patrolling responsibility, but simply want an answer on who has jurisdiction to enforce laws.

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