New deputy assigned to Ponte Vedra Beach MSD


A new deputy has been assigned to help keep the Ponte Vedra Beach Municipal Service District (MSD) safe.

Mitchell Watson, who has been with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) for approximately a year, will join four other deputies who patrol the MSD, which pays extra fees for supplemental services such as 24-hour police patrols.

Charles Mulligan, community affairs commander for SJSO, said Watson has a business background but attended the academy and completed all the required training to obtain his “road ready” status and take on solo patrols.

“He’s beginning his law enforcement career,” Mulligan said. “I think the MSD community will be getting a very good deputy.”

Watson’s duties on the MSD beat will be the same as a patrol deputy anywhere, Mulligan said, such as dealing with traffic issues, disturbances and assisting other deputies with any major crime issues.

Some of the factors determining which beat a deputy is assigned to include community needs, shift shortages and geographic proximity, which means the deputies are often members of the communities they patrol. 

“The deputy-to-resident ratio is very good,” Mulligan said. “For the number of individuals (in the area), having a deputy on duty 24 hours a day is very advantageous.”

Brian Harrington, Northeast District commander for SJSO, said communication is key to a successful relationship between the deputies and the communities they serve.

“(Watson) has a lot of good ties to that community,” Harrington said. “He’s going to do very well.”

Harrington also said he notices the difference in communities that have the kind of police presence that the MSD has.

“It all comes down to visibility, whether it’s traffic or crime control,” he said. “The visibility and presence gives residents great peace of mind.”

The deputies patrolling the MSD are connected to the residents and therefore able to build and foster trusting relationships with each other, said Harrington.

“We go above and beyond making sure we have the best ties with the community,” he said.

The other deputies serving the Municipal Service District are Nathan Datsko, Dwayne Cieslik, Jon Johnson and veteran MSD deputy John Tedder, who Mulligan called a “great resource for the community.”