Scott Beaver is the new Northeast District commander of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. He succeeds Brian Harrington, who recently retired from the agency. Beaver lives right off U.S. Route 1 at the county line.
Can you please tell us about your background?
I grew up in St. Augustine. I’ve been here in the area my whole life. My family goes back a long way. Some of my family was actually part of the Royal Family at one point in St. Augustine. I went through our school system and graduated from St. Augustine High School. Right out of high school, I went into the military. I stayed in the military for about 13 years. I was full-time in the National Guard and worked at Camp Blanding. Then Sheriff Neil Perry was also in the Guard. He got me interested in law enforcement. I went through the academy and decided to leave the military and come on full-time here at the Sheriff’s Office in 1994.
What has your career path been at the Sheriff’s Office?
I started in patrol, and then I worked in our homicide unit for a few years. I went back to patrol and got promoted to sergeant. I stayed in patrol for a while, and then I was transferred to run the drug unit for several years. I went back to the road for a little while, and then the district concept that we have now was born. So, I went to a district support sergeant role in the Southwest part of the county. I stayed there, got promoted to lieutenant and eventually to commander in the Southwest. Then, I went up to the Northwest to be commander there for a short period of time. When Brian retired, I took over for him as commander of the Northeast.
What are your goals as commander of the Northeast District?
When you ask a cop that question, the answers are typically lower crime rate, making citizens feel safe and secure in their own communities, etc. I want those things, but I also want our deputies to become part of our community. I want our deputies to stop their cars, get out, talk to our citizens. If they see some kids playing basketball or football, I want them to get out and spend 10 minutes with those kids and build that relationship, the trust between law enforcement and the community. Building that trust and relationship with the community is a big part of our job. It’s not putting people in jail, writing tickets to speeders. That’s not our whole job. Quite honestly, we can’t be as successful as we are without the community’s help. It takes both of us to solve crimes. I want that relationship so they never hesitate to pick that telephone up to call us. That’s my biggest goal: Just get back to the basics of the good old-fashioned law enforcement.
What have you learned so far about the Northeast District?
One of the things that really sticks out in the Northeast is how much the community embraces law enforcement. There’s not a day that goes by that somebody doesn’t thank you for what you do or stop and talk with you. If you go out and eat lunch somewhere, somebody is always trying to buy your lunch. I think 97 percent of our citizens in our county feel that way. That’s one of the biggest things I see here. Another thing is the growth. The Northeast is blowing up with growth. I think the next thing is probably the traffic. It’s just getting unbelievable.
What are some of the challenges the District faces?
The challenge is the growth. How do we manage that? How do we continue to provide the service that our citizens deserve and expect with the growth? What I mean by that is, I don’t want our agency to get too big too fast, where we’re just call to call to call. We’re customer-service based. We’re a full-service agency. That’s what we do. I want us to be able to spend that five, seven, eight minutes with somebody to make them feel their issue is important, regardless of what it is. It’s important for them to call, so it’s important for us to listen. So being on the command staff, our job is to come up with plans to manage that growth. I don’t think people realize the Northeast District starts at State Road 16 and I-95, and it goes all the way up to the Duval County line. That’s a big distance. So, it’s managing the agency’s growth, as well as the community’s growth, so we can continue to provide that service. That’s our biggest challenge.
Outside of the Sheriff’s Office, what do you like to do in your free time?
I have grown up in the outdoors my whole life. I love to go offshore fishing. One of my vacations every year is to Venice, Louisiana, where we go offshore in the Gulf to fish. I also enjoy hunting. When you’re out there, it’s just nice to get away. Sometimes, it’s nice to let go.
Edited by Jon Blauvelt