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St. Johns County sheriff

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St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar is retiring after five terms. Republicans Rob Hardwick defeated Chris Strickland in the August primary closed to only Republican voters because there is a qualified write-in the race.

Hardwick’s name appears on the general election ballot with a blank line for a write-in. Scott Boutwell is the only qualified write-in candidate for the sheriff’s race. Online records show Boutwell is a registered Republican.

Scroll down to read about responses to News4Jax’s questionnaire of the candidate whose name is on the ballot, presented verbatim as submitted.

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES

Rob Hardwick

Age: 49

Candidate’s family: Wife Kendell (Married for 29 years); 2 sons (Cole & Brett)

Occupation: St. Augustine Beach Chief of Police

Education: B.S. Degree from Flagler College, Masters of Arts Degree from Barry University, graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 247, graduate of the FBI’s FL Executive Development Seminar Class 16, and graduate of FL Department of Law Enforcement’s Chief Executive Seminar Session 48.

Political experience: First time candidate

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • The safety of our community is paramount to me.
  • As we are an ever-growing community, the Sheriff’s Office must adapt to these circumstances.
  • Finally, we want the trust of the community in the Office thus accountability and transparency are also a top priority.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

Nothing gives more vital experience to a leader than being a combat veteran. I am proud to have served my country for over two decades including 2 overseas combat tours in the United States Army. Making those quick judgment calls and decisions when under intense pressure is required from an administrator of an office. In addition, I am currently serving as the Chief of Police of the St. Augustine Beach Police Department. I answer to five city commissioners and I maintain everything for the SABPD from the budget to personnel to policies. I also served as the Deputy Chief Investigator for the 7th Circuit State Attorney's Office covering all 4 counties in the circuit so I bring a well-rounded level of executive experience to the table. Lastly, I am the only one in this race that has never worked for the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, so I consider myself a fresh set of eyes if I am elected.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

I always want to leave an Office better than when I started out in it. The Sheriff's Office is no exception. I hope that the men and women of law enforcement will be remembered for being a positive piece to the puzzle of what makes St. Johns County the best place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

I want to have community conversations with all walks of life on the issues that should unite us, not divide us. Being a law enforcement officer for so many years makes me realize that customer service is essential. This service is critical to ensure a true partnership between law enforcement and the community.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

Every profession has gone through challenging times with the onset of this pandemic. Law enforcement is no exception. COVID 19 limits our ability to interact with the community which is a critical component of the office's mission. We also must control the spread of the virus within our inmate population and protect all employees with adequate PPE supplies. Finally, the Sheriff's office must use creative strategies to maximize the use of remote positions. Like any challenging time, however, we will adapt and overcome this obstacle while being mindful of CDC guidelines.

Campaign website: votehardwick.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Chris Strickland

Age: 50

Candidate’s family: Wife Tammy Strickland, two daughters Brooke and Hannah, ages 26 and 23

Occupation: Former Director of St. Johns County Sheriffs Office

Education: Masters of Public Administration /Justice Administration

Political experience: First time running

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Safety of our community
  • Transparency in the Sheriffs Office
  • Accountability

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

I bring a lifetime of experience in this very Sheriffs Office. Hired at the age of 19 and have worked and supervised every aspect of the Law Enforcement Division. High Liability Instructor at the Law Enforcement Academy for many years, teaching every aspect of law enforcement to new recruits and In-Service personnel. Proven Leader.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

That I kept the community safe from harm. A God fearing man, full of integrity who put others before himself and understood that leadership demands sacrifice.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

Diplomatic and civil conversation addressing the concerns of those who feel an injustice and working with everyone to find a solution that will relieve those concerns.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

It changes somewhat, the approach to enforcing the law by having us use extra medical and social precautions while doing our job. It is not the first thing that we've had to adapt to and it won't be the last. We will continue to provide law enforcement services regardless what circumstances come our way.

Campaign website: Strickland4Sheriff.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook