A Message to the Media Regarding the Death of Michelle O’Connell
Many of you are aware of and have reported on the 2010 death investigation of Michelle O’Connell that occurred in St. Johns County. In the past I have spoken to many of you on several occasions about this case and I will continue to do so. We are committed to transparency and to that end we have posted documents relating to this case on our website. We did not post any case documentation generated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) regarding this case but it should be available through their office.
Recently, an article was published in the New York Times, the primary reporter also has been collaborating on the production of a documentary related to the case. This reporter first contacted our agency in February 2013 and at that time I was more than willing to discuss the case with him. After more contacts with the reporter over the next couple of months, in May of 2013 I advised him in writing that I would not have an “in-person” and “on-the-record” interview with him (Bogdanich Letter 1). After several more months and after various communications, I met with the reporter and soon after I agreed to an “in-person” and “on-the-record” interview.
The interview was scheduled for November 14, 2013. The day before the interview, the reporter called and wanted to conduct the interview on the same date and time, but over the telephone instead of “in-person” and I agreed. After additional thought I decided that I would not participate in this interview and sent him a letter outlining my reasons (Sheriff’s Recent Correspondence to Bogdanich 3).
The reporter subsequently sent me a brief list of questions that I could answer if I chose to and gave me a deadline of November 19, 2013, no later than 5:00pm. I was perplexed after reading his questions for a variety of reasons. I decided not to answer his questions for him but I have answered them for you! These questions and my answers are titled Bogdanich Questions/Sheriff Shoar’s Responses in a link on our website.
We have long advocated to share this case with as many people as possible; including the media and we will continue to do so because there are some vitally important lessons for all.
I encourage you to make the commitment to read and study this case; especially if you are going to report on it. Reading and understanding this case could easily take several hours.
After 33 years working with many of you, I have become keenly aware of how challenging your profession can be and I applaud you for work and dedication. Fortunately, the vast majority of you are committed to the truth and clearly understand the difference in “reporting” the narrative instead of “creating” one.
Thank you for your interest and time.
David B. Shoar, Sheriff
Message from the Sheriff
On behalf of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, I welcome any questions that you may have regarding this agency and its services. We provide full-service law enforcement for the visitors and residents of St. Johns County. We are state and nationally accredited with more than 700 professionals.
The Sheriff’s Office is committed to making St Johns County a safe environment for its citizens and visitors alike by providing premier law enforcement services.
Given the current economic climate, fulfilling this commitment can prove to be quite challenging. Therefore, our agency works twelve months a year on ways to save money through process analysis and quality improvement.
- Mission Statement: Taking care of people.
- Vision Statement: Be the best we can be, in all that we do.
- Value Statement: Our core values are non-negotiable: Integrity. Treating people with dignity and respect.
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)
Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CFA)
Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC)