St Johns County, Fla — For Black History Month Action News Jax Gets Real and is getting real and showcasing some of our very own hometown heroes.
Every day Mikayla Preston puts on her green uniform as a deputy for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
The St. Augustine native patrols West Augustine. She knows the families there and can relate to them better than some of the other officers in her department.
“Me being African American and being a female I’m able to connect with them on a more personal level,” Deputy Preston said.
With so much tension in today’s climates she’s working to help bridge the gap and improve the relationship between minority communities and police officers.
The sheriff’s office held their first ever community walk in West Augustine on Wednesday.
“You’ll hear them say oh my gosh, she’s black she’s black or she’s a female and you’ll see little girls and hey get so excited and they just light up because they haven’t seen that and that is what I want. I want it to be the norm,” Preston said.
Deputy Preston’s journey didn’t start here at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office She became a police officer in 2017 at the St. Augustine Beach Police Department right after she graduated from Florida State University with a degree in criminology.
At first deputy Preston didn’t know if she wanted to be a police officer but Sheriff Rob Hardwick visited her college when he was a police chief and told her to give it a try.
In 2019, she was named the officer of the year when she was at the St. Augustine Beach Police Department and now she’s hoping her story will inspire other young women to consider a career in law enforcement.
“I would definitely tell them to just do it. It is such a rewarding career,” Deputy Preston said.
I reached out to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Nassau County Sherriff’s Office to see if I could get a break down of gender and minorities within the department.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office tells Action News Jax that as of Dec. 2020, 7% of their workforce is African American. 34% female 66% male.
In Nassau, as of Feb. 26, 27 of their sworn deputies- 13.57% of their police force -is a minority. Of that, 22 are male, 5 are female.