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Hero Down: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief James ‘Jimmy’ Judge Succumbs To ALS Complications

Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) Assistant Chief James “Jimmy” Judge died on Jan. 14 due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to his family.

The 55-year-old assistant chief was diagnosed with ALS – an incurable, fatal degenerative neuromuscular disease commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease – more than two years ago, WJXT reported.

“I took a day to feel sorry for myself and went home and cried and got it out of my system,” Assistant Chief Judge told the news outlet in 2021. “I’ve been relying on my friends and family ever since.”

“I want to imprint on my son and show him that we don’t lay down. I’m not gonna lay in bed and feel sorry for myself,” he added. “I’m gonna keep fighting until the end, so if it gets me, it’s gonna have to take me.”

Assistant Chief Judge served the JSO “with honor and distinction” for nearly 32 years, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a statement on Jan. 14.

“Jimmy was the longest-tenured lieutenant when he was appointed by Sheriff Mike Williams to serve as Assistant Chief,” Sheriff Waters noted. “Jimmy fought an extremely courageous fight in his battle against ALS. He was widely loved, and his passing is deeply felt throughout current and retired members of not only the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, but the Jacksonville community.”

Assistant Chief Judge was born in Syracuse, New York, and attended the Florida Community College of Jacksonville prior to joining the JSO in May of 1991, according to his obituary.

He served in a multitude of roles during his decades of service with the JSO, and was assigned as the assistant chief over Special Events prior to his death.

Assistant Chief Judge also earned a bachelor of science degree from Liberty University in 1997 while working for the department.

“Jimmy’s fight against A.L.S. was relentless and inspiring to all who met him and knew him,” his obituary read. “He passed away peacefully surrounded by family members and close friends.”

Assistant Chief Judge leaves behind his wife of 30 years, Shannon, and his son, Jakie.

He is also survived by his parents and his sister, who serves as a deputy in St. Johns County.

“On behalf of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, I send my condolences to his wife, Shannon, and their son, Jakie,” Sheriff Waters said. “Please join me in keeping Lt. Judge’s family members and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.”

Assistant Chief Judge was laid to rest on Jan. 26, according to his obituary.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief James “Jimmy” Judge, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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