Q: What can you tell us about your ongoing efforts regarding community partnerships?
A: One of the things I ran my campaign on was for the sheriff’s office to have a more robust community partnership. Serving the community is something we actually do as a family. My wife and I rarely do much alone. In fact, she walked the jail with me on Christmas Day. I think it’s important to have core values of service at home that we can model in the sheriff’s office.
Q: What have you done in this regard most recently?
A: We just had a community walk in West Augustine. It was phenomenal — and great to see the community come out and support us. We walked with local faith based leaders, community leaders, members of my staff, School Board member Tony Coleman, and yes, my wife Kendall. It’s so important to get out in the community and talk to people. We visited churches and even stopped and played some football.
Q: Do you have plans for more community walks?
A: Yes. The next three stops will be Nocatee, Hastings and Julington Creek. We’re aiming for approximately one walk per month. We hope to include the School Board member and County Commissioner for the area as well as St. Johns Fire and Rescue. If anyone would like to suggest an area for a community walk, they should reach out to the sheriff’s office.
Q: What other community events do you have in mind?
A: We are planning some Town Hall meetings and hope to partner with St. Johns Fire Rescue to perhaps use their fire stations for the meetings. I encourage community members who come to these meetings to bring their difficult questions. We want to hear them. We hope for open and candid discussions at these meetings, which, when scheduled, will be posted prominently on our social media.
Q: What else have you done to promote community partnerships?
A: I have redesigned the Office of the Sheriff’s Community Affairs division. We’ve added Cpl. Greg Suchy and Deputy Tony Rodriguez as our office’s direct contacts with homeowners associations and civic groups. We plan to promote crime prevention and public safety as well as women’s self defense and our Civilian Law Enforcement Academy.
We also added Anthony Britton as our community liaison. He is the pastor of two churches in St. Augustine, a 20-year US Air Force veteran and a substance abuse counselor. He will be invaluable in our efforts to engage with the community.
Q: Can you tell us about the C.A.R.E. (Community and Advocacy Resources for the Elderly) Program?
A: This program is similar to one I started when I was with the St. Augustine Beach Police Department. Basically, pre-COVID, we had our deputies check on elderly residents while on normal patrol. Right now, we are checking in via telephone, but plan to go back to home checks once COVID protocols are lifted. If anyone is interested in setting up a check on an elderly family member, contact the sheriff’s office.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you with any questions or suggestions about this article?
A: They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (904) 824-8304. Also, our website, www.sjso.org has a wealth of resources, from alarm registration to Crime Stoppers to our Neighbors app.