21st Century Sheriffs

Sheriffs of the 21st Century

Neil J. Perry, Sheriff – 1985 until 2005. Sheriff Perry tackled the challenge for needed change in the Sheriff’s Office that had begun with his predecessors. With vision and forethought, Sheriff Perry diligently and conscientiously led the Sheriff’s Office through a series of improvements to the crowning achievement of attaining nationally accredited status in 1991.

The accreditation accomplishment was filled with milestones along the way. To address the chronic low salary issue, a pay plan was established. Another milestone was the implementation of regular professional training through the shared academy concept, pooling resources among Clay, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties.

As part of the training emphasis, a college program that brings classes to the squad room was establish. Members/appointees can fulfill degree requirements in the program through agreements with Nova-Southeastern University, Vincennes University, Troy State University, and Saint Leo College.

In order to bring more effective coverage to the citizens and visitors, other milestones were achieved. The E-911 System was implemented to facilitate faster deputy response. The Watch Commander concept was put in place to enable a command officer to be on duty at all times, and then the current sector plan was established to ensure that deputies were assigned and available across the county.

Other milestones included the establishment of a Victim Witness Coordinator program, implementation of a Police Athletic League (PAL), negotiation with the School District for shared funding of School Resource Officers (SRO’s), and serving all public schools with programming such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE).

Sheriff Perry began his law enforcement career as a member of the St. Augustine Police Department Reserves. In 1974, he joined the Sheriff’s Office and served as a Reserve Deputy, Patrol Deputy, Detective and Captain, prior to taking office as Sheriff.

Today, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is recognized across the state as one of the most progressive law enforcement agencies in Florida. There is a long established history of professional excellence demonstrated by countless sheriffs, deputies and others who have served St. Johns County’s citizens so well since 1821.

David B. Shoar, Sheriff – Elected to the office of Sheriff in November 2004. Assumed the duties of Sheriff on January 1, 2005.

Sheriff Shoar not only has a long and distinguished law enforcement career, but an equally distinguished career in the Military.

Sheriff Shoar began his law enforcement career as a police officer with the St. Augustine Police Department in December 1981. After being a patrol officer for 10 years, he was promoted to Sergeant. He was promoted to Operations Commander in 1997 overseeing the Patrol and Detective Divisions. He became the Administrative Services Commander in 1999. In May of 2000, he was appointed Chief of Police. Sheriff Shoar retired from the Police Department after being elected to serve as the Sheriff of St. Johns County.

Concurrent with Sheriff Shoar’s law enforcement career is the 20 years he has been a member of the Florida Army National Guard. He began as an enlisted soldier and eventually earned a commission as an officer through the Florida National Guard Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School in 1988. He has been a platoon leader, company executive officer and unit commander and has served our country and state during several operations, including Operation Desert Shield/Storm and during relief efforts after Hurricanes Andrew and Opal. He is currently a Major and is the Operations Officer at the Guard’s State Headquarters in St. Augustine, FL.

Academically, Sheriff Shoar is a 1998 graduate of the 193rd session of the FBI’s National Academy, a 2003 graduate of the 46th session of the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar and 2004 graduate of the 35th session of the Chief Executive Seminar sponsored by the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute.

Sheriff Shoar serves on a variety of advisory boards including the University of North Florida’s Institute of Government and on the Board of Directors of EPIC in St. Johns County. He also holds memberships in numerous clubs and civic organizations.