ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – After St. Augustine Police Chief Barry Fox retires in June, Cmdr. Jennifer Michaux will take over as leader of the agency, the city announced Tuesday.
Michaux, who will be the department’s first woman chief, began her law enforcement career in 1995 with the St. Augustine Police Department.
“I’ve been very fortunate because there have been so many female police chiefs and sheriffs across the country that have paved the way for us,” Michaux told News4Jax. “Retired Lt. Teresa Mears from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook, they have always been part of my networking group and people I can reach out to, because it is different being a female in law enforcement.”
Her advice to future female leaders is don’t be afraid to take a chance.
“Do the training. Just get out there and just be part of it and don’t be afraid to just step up and take control of whatever situation it might be,” Michaux said.
Michaux’s own training and service career began when she enlisted in the U.S. Navy. She was stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, where her first connection to St. Augustine took shape, in a unique way.
“I actually brought the airplane down here in 1992 to name it the ‘City of St. Augustine.’ I was the loadmaster on the airplane when we brought it down here. I actually started being a part of this community in 1992 before I started working here in 1995,” Michaux said.
A plaque commemorating that event is now in City Hall.
With the St. Augustine Police Department, Michaux steadily rose in the ranks, eventually taking on leadership roles, including sergeant.
In her role as commander, she has supervised both the administrative and operations functions of SAPD and her experience includes traffic homicide investigator, motor officer, defensive tactics instructor and field training officer, according to the city.
“Commander Michaux’s ability to think critically and articulate tangible solutions, her vision for the future of the St. Augustine Police Department, and her approachable and empathetic leadership style make her the best fit for the immediate needs of our community as the next Chief of Police,” City Manager John Regan said.
Michaux, a Flagler College graduate, said she plans to engage officers in the community at their most personal levels through mentoring programs and community volunteer opportunities, such as coaching, or other activities.
“Commander Michaux is a driven leader. She steps up and takes ownership of the modern challenges faced by law enforcement officers today,” Fox said in a press release. “She shares the current core values relating to officers and members of this community and will be able to build upon those going forward.”
Michaux said one thing that never changed is her desire to not only serve the community but be actively engaged. As chief, she wants that for her officers.
“I kind of want to focus on getting them back in the community. Unfortunately, social media and the technology have closed us off from that a little bit,” she said. “We’ve got to figure out how to use that and also go back to just being part of the community.”
Fox was named as chief in 2016 and announced he was stepping down last year to become the city’s code enforcement manager.