ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning in St. Johns County to officially open the doors to the brand new, joint sheriff's office and fire departments building.
The facility, which is centrally located in the Moultrie area on US-1 south near State Road 312, is the first of its kind in the growing community.
Officials with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and Fire Rescue said its location was one of the biggest pluses of the project, because it will help with efficiency.
On the Fire Rescue side, the facility is replacing Station 5 in the St. Augustine South community and Station 11 in the St. Augustine Shores area.
“If you really were to go out and look at fire stations throughout the community, most of the time, there’s at least one law enforcement person at the station," Deputy Chief Jeremy Robshaw said. "Just checking in to see how everyone is doing. So to be able to do that in a formal circumstance, working out of the same facility, I think that is a great model.”
The building will house both firefighters and officials with the Sheriff's Office.
“If you know the relationships between the Fire Rescue and Sheriff’s Office here, it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen it," Commander Thomas Quintieri with the Sheriff's Office said. "This is my 33rd year here, and our relationship has never been better. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
Director of law enforcement David Messenger said the building will encompass the Sheriff's Office southeast and southwest districts, making deputies accessible to those neighbors.
“I don’t see a downside to it," Messenger said. "I think it’s looking to the future. Somebody had a great idea that we’re just now bringing to reality.”
The building will come equipped with interview rooms, space for Operation Medicine Cabinet as well as the records clerk to help citizens with report requests.
Messenger added the joint building is a great way to maintain a partnership with the men and women in red.
“I see a lot of value working with our brothers and sisters at Fire Rescue," Messenger said. "We’ve always had a great relationship with them. We intend to build on that, and if we continue to use this as a template for the future, it will only get better.”
The first fire call at the new facility came just minutes after the ribbon-cutting and tour.