Rob Hardwick sets out new goals as Sheriff of St. Johns County

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Rob Hardwick will officially take over for Sheriff David Shoar, who has been sheriff of St. Johns County for 16 years.

Hardwick beat out write-in candidate Scott Boutwell by 95% of the vote.

Action News Jax Alicia Tarancon spoke with Hardwick on his goals for the future as sheriff in one of Florida’s fastest-growing counties.

Hardwick has spent more than two decades of his life in law enforcement serving with the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Corrections.

When he steps into his new role at the St. Johns County Sheriff Office in January he’s bringing along some new innovative ideas he says the county hasn’t seen before.

“A lot of that involves modern technology and technology that’s in the testing phases now as we speak,” Hardwick said.

There’s also a big push for accountability and transparency with law enforcement, especially when it comes to wearing body cameras.

When Hardwick was chief of police for the St. Augustine Beach Police Department he told me his department was already headed in that direction.

“I think it’s one of those questions not if, it’s when it’s going to happen. And I support body camera,  I’ve never been opposed to them,” Hardwick said.

Hardwick believes body cameras are necessary for a number of reasons, not just to protect citizens but also to protect law enforcement officers from false accusations of police misconduct.

He said there’s a bigger picture than just body cameras and he wants to promote community partnerships to help keep the department transparent.

He said it’ll be those same community partnerships that he says will help the sheriff’s office keep up with one of Florida’s fastest-growing counties.

“Keeping up with growth too is also getting out there and marketing the office of the sheriff. Marketing our men and women and making sure we’re doing the meet and greets,” he said.

Hardwick gets sworn in on January 5, 2021; however, he starts working at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office next Monday to help him prepare for his new role.

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