Youth Services and Traffic is commanded by Commander Shawn Lee and consists of the Youth Resource Deputies, the Police Athletic League, Traffic, Public Service Assistants, and School Crossing Guards.
The Youth Resource Deputies are managed by LT Mike Strausbaugh and are supervised by SGT West Kennedy, SGT Charles Brantley, and SGT Michael Hartsel. The unit is comprised of deputies who are assigned to all St. Johns County schools. They are there for emergency response situations, as well as facilitation of required training, drills and participation on each schools threat assessment team. These resource deputies have received extensive training in working with students and local schools.
The Traffic Unit is managed by LT Toby Erwin, and is supervised by SGT Terry Shirley. Traffic is responsible for traffic enforcement, traffic homicide investigations, and motor escorts. There are currently 8 people in the Traffic Unit.
Public Service Assistants (PSAs) are part-time employees. This civilian position is responsible for the following:
- Supplementing law enforcement in non-confrontational calls for service
- Traffic control at intersections and schools
- Assists citizens, including disabled vehicles
- Non-criminal county ordinances
- Traffic crashes with no injuries
- Traffic escorts
School Crossing Guards (SCGs) are seasonal employees responsible for the safety of school-age children:
- Crossing at designated school crossing intersections
- Educating pedestrians on the traffic laws and safe crossing procedures
- Ensure all traffic is at a complete stop before crossing children
St. Johns Police Athletic League (PAL) was started in 1991 by Sheriff Neil Perry as a non-profit youth serving organization. Police Athletic League works in cooperation with many local organizations, such as the county recreation department, St. Johns County School District, United Way of St. Johns County, Juvenile Justice, our state and national chapters, and many others to offer programs to the youth of our communities.
PAL is one of the oldest citizen-building youth programs in the nation. It builds friendships between law enforcement officers and children within the community and is based on the conviction that young people, if reached early enough, can develop strong positive attitudes towards law enforcement officers in their journey through life toward the goal of maturity and good citizenship.
Studies have shown that if a young person respects a law enforcement officer on the ball field, in the gym or classroom, they will likely come to respect the laws that law enforcement officers enforce. Our staff and volunteers also have the opportunity to be a trusted authority figure that assists children with finding guidance, setting goals, and enjoying new life opportunities. PAL has embraced traditional American values where one generation responsibly shares its wisdom and helps kids learn to work together to be responsible for themselves, as well as set goals in their lives.