Monday, May 16, 2016

Debra Maynard Challenges Incumbent Sheriff SHOAR

Good article in today's St. Augustine Record about Debra Maynard's heroic challenge to ethically challenged Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR." SHOAR's Howdy Doody looking high school graduation-like photo in the Record (far below) contrasts with his deathly appearance these days.

David Shoar, Debra Maynard vie for St. Johns County sheriff
Posted: May 15, 2016 - 11:41pm | Updated: May 16, 2016 - 12:06am

For the first time since he was elected in 2004, St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar will have an opponent as he seeks re-election for a fourth term.

Debra Maynard, a former SJCSO deputy, has cleared the hurdle of having to collect 1,606 petition signatures to have her name placed on the Aug. 30 primary ballot.

She was a deputy from June 2007 until February 2012.

Shoar, who has raised nearly $230,000 for his campaign since officially announcing his bid for re-election, has said he will pay the roughly $8,250 qualifying fee to have his name placed on the ballot rather than collecting signatures.

Both are running as Republicans. No one from outside the party has announced a campaign.

The final step in getting their names on the ballot will be to formally “qualify” between noon June 20 and noon June 24 by filing the final pieces of paperwork and taking a candidate’s oath, according to St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes.

With only two Republicans having announced so far, the race is shaping up to be what Oakes called a “universal primary contest,” meaning the Sheriff’s race will appear on the Democratic and non-partisan ballots, as well. That could change if a candidate from outside the party files at the last minute, closing the Republican primary contest, she said.

During a phone interview Friday, Maynard, who has raised just more than $7,200 according to the Supervisor of Elections website, acknowledged that she has taken on quite a challenge trying to unseat a three-term incumbent with an enormous war chest, but she refuses to call herself an underdog.

“David and Goliath, right?” she said. “It depends on who you ask. Money is not everything. I think citizens will have a lot to say when it comes time to vote.”

She said she has “several topics” she plans to bring up during her campaign but declined to name many of them Friday.

“I'm going to be addressing those on my website very soon in the way of some short videos,” she said.

According to her campaign website, causes she supports include the use of body cameras and dash cameras, training officers in “de-escalation” techniques to be used in dealing with “someone in crisis” who may be suffering from mental illness, and accountability for officers believed to have been involved in domestic violence incidents.

It was that last topic she spoke about Friday.

“One thing I am going to really hammer that people are very disappointed in is officer-involved domestic violence, and the lack of prosecution,” she said. “There are just so many things that people have come to me with to discuss.”

She said she has obtained, through public records requests, three reports indicating that officers who still work for the county were involved in domestic violence and proper procedures were not followed.

“They are in response to 911 calls by the spouse or significant other where an officer did commit domestic violence,” Maynard said.

“I can say it was never reported to the state as mandated by law ... and they still have their jobs,” she added.

She said she is not disclosing the information in those reports now but may do so closer to the election.

Asked about the reports on Friday, Shoar said he would have to see the specific documents before he could comment on them. He said he stands by his department’s record on handling such cases.

“Our agency, we are so proactive, since I have been sheriff I think we have arrested probably four or five of our own deputy sheriffs for domestic violence,” he said. “In fact, one of those individuals happens to be an almost lifelong friend of mine who was a lieutenant. (He) is still serving a five-year prison term.”

His name is Roger Wayne Colee. He was sentenced in September 2012 after pleading no contest to aggravated stalking after an injunction following an arrest earlier that year. Colee had worked in the corrections division of the Sheriff’s Office in the St. Johns County jail beginning in 1990. He was terminated in 2011 after a previous arrest for stalking, according to earlier reports.

For some, officer-involved domestic violence is a subject linked closely with the 2010 shooting death of Michelle O’Connell — a case Maynard says she is asked about often.

O’Connell died in September 2010 in the home of her boyfriend, St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputy Jeremy Banks. The gun used was Banks’ department-issued handgun.

The Sheriff’s Office led the initial investigation that was eventually ruled a suicide. O’Connell’s family members have said she wouldn’t have killed herself, and some questioned the integrity of the original investigation and believe Banks is responsible, though he has denied any wrongdoing and two independent prosecutors have ruled the death a suicide.

Banks is still a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office.

Maynard was among the first deputies at the scene and has since been a source in a 2013 investigative piece from The New York Times and a PBS Frontline documentary — produced in partnership with The Times — that were both critical of the initial investigation. Both pieces raised the topic of domestic violence.

“I don’t think it was a suicide,” she said Friday of O’Connell’s death. She cited conversations she has since had with others and “certain pieces of evidence that were never turned in,” as leading her to that conclusion.

Because she will be deposed in June as part of a civil suit Banks has filed against a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent who later investigated the death, Maynard said, “There’s a lot I can’t really talk about.”

She said she doesn’t intend to make her campaign about O’Connell’s death, but acknowledged she is asked about it and does tell people what she thinks when asked.

“I don’t think it is right to use a tragedy to bolster a campaign,” she said. “I wouldn’t do it.”

Shoar said he is hopeful that the race doesn’t turn negative “because that doesn’t benefit anybody” and would prefer to talk about the future and the challenges facing the law enforcement profession and the community as a whole.

What he doesn’t spend of his nearly $230,000 in campaign contributions, he said, will be divided up and given to local nonprofits.

“We are going to spend what we need to spend, but we are not going to overdo it,” he said. “We’ve got the money to run a robust and serious campaign. I think it will be a fun summer.”

Shoar, who defeated a Republican opponent in the 2004 Republican primary and then a write-in candidate in the general election to become sheriff after a stint as chief of the St. Augustine Police Department, said he is confident about his chances in August.

“I’ve been a law enforcement officer in our community for going on 36 years,” he said. “And half of that has been as a chief executive officer, either as a chief of police or sheriff.”

“This community knows me, they know my history,” he added. “I’ve always been transparent. I was very blessed and I ran unopposed in my second term and I ran unopposed in my third term and now we have somebody that wants to run, and I welcome that. I don’t own that seat.”

“I’m going to be looking real hard at retirement after my fourth term,” Shoar said.

But Maynard said she feels the county is ready for a change now and her decision to run was a difficult one.

“Look, I don’t think any cop needs to abuse the badge,” she said. “What’s good for our citizens is good for our cops.”

Asked if she feels officers are abusing their positions now, she said, “When I worked there (the Sheriff’s Office) some, not all, some used their authority in the wrong ways .... you know, just to get away with stuff — and I am not about that.”

“I firmly believe ... we come to a point in our lives that between the citizens asking for me to run and for God’s direction in my life that I need to do just that,” she added. “It’s not what I wanted, but it’s what I have accepted, and I am glad to do it. I am excited about it.”

Firstcoaster 05/16/16 - 07:15 am 54Only Five Years as a Deputy
and she is an expert on everything. Why did she leave? Let's see her personnel file.

flg8rlvr 05/16/16 - 09:04 am 83Firstcoaster...
What have you learned in a five year span? You cannot judge by that sentiment alone. Many of our own entities are run in less than a five year students graduate after 4 years...and we trust them to teach our children, run our businesses, lead a public office, appeal for rights, etc. Our president is given a four year term and we expect he knows how to run a country and most times, he does this with very little experience. So, what point are you getting to? That she doesn't have experience? Maybe you should take a look at her website. I find there are posters that like to point a finger at others and what they are or are not qualified to do, while doing absolutely nothing themselves. I believe we call them "armchair quarterbacks". I personally believe that, if after 12 years as Sheriff, he has not completed all the initiatives that he set forth to do, then there is a problem. Our President has a term limit set at 8 years, the same should be with all elected officials. Our Sheriff has taken more away from this community than he has given back. What happened to our local Youth Crisis Center? What about the ACE program for troubled kids? And School Resource officers? Why aren't they in ALL schools? Where is our Community Services Unit, Youth Services Unit? At a time when it is vital to our children, where are they? And yet our local school board and Superintendent are just as guilty as they back this Sheriff. Maybe you like the status quo, but I would rather my hard earned money go to pay for youth services, more patrols on the street, a mental health program that is not carried out in word only but also in deed, and a reduction in recidivism with life skills training for inmates, instead a bunch of Commanders and Chiefs telling the little guy what to do. I think I have given this Sheriff plenty of time to prove to me that he is worthy of the position. I have given him 12 years and I don't want to give him anymore. And if that means voting for a Republican woman with only 5 years experience as a deputy, then so be it.

mikewoodruff 05/16/16 - 10:12 am 20I've been here since before Shoar's tenure in office
and from my experience he has done a good job at completing initiatives given the budget problems that began 9 years ago. I'd like to see more deputies and a more vigorous youth program as well, but unless revenues increase it is difficult to see how these would be paid for. It is not clear from her website what programs Ms. Maynard would cut to pay for increases in other ones.

Firstcoaster 05/16/16 - 10:19 am 33flg8rlvr
As a retired LEO manager,

-I know that five years as a deputy and then working in a construction office as a clerk, err, project manager, doesn't qualify one to be the Sheriff.
-I know that when someone quits law enforcement after only five years there likely are skeletons in the closet.
-I have read her website. Having a website doesn't qualify anyone for anything, and the content is smoke and mirrors.

However, Sheriff Shoar will win by a landslide.

W.H.Coleman111 05/16/16 - 11:11 am 14Finally
I have been a lifelong resident of st.augustine and just based on the Jeremy banks killing his wife shoar should have stepped down he one of two things I think the later one he just dropped the ball,or two he is a I protect my unit type guy which with his education in law inforcment I know he knew what he was doing.Why would you protect someone that would murder his wife?I also know things about the Feds wanting shoar which goes back some time but he is deffenitly on there radar.We have got to start holding these guys accountable yes they put their lives on the line yes it's a high stress job but they know these when they enter.What is happening is a battle over our future our family's our freedom and maybe our lives.But really Shoar has no excuse he knows how to do things correctly the reason he didn't was he wanted his deputy's to say man he looks out for his guys it was a poor recruiting tool you should have charged him and used that to bring in honest good cops not THUGS.

Firstcoaster 05/16/16 - 11:40 am 61It's difficult
to give a post any credibility when grammar, spelling, and punctuation are severely lacking.

Our deputies are thugs? Stay classy!

NewSheriff 05/16/16 - 11:49 am 27New York Times PBS Frontline

It is well known Sheriff Shoar was ecstatic The New York Times was going to look into the case of Michelle O'Connell, that is until he felt threatened of the negative press. His reputation took a hard fall, and all of the kings horsemen couldn't put humpty back together again.
The New York Times and PBS Frontline is not to be confused with the daily local paper. Journalism nominated for prestigious awards. Experts in their field of study. When the man who writes the Bible on Homicide Investigations, Vernon GeBerth, says your handling of a case STINKS, it STINKS.
A certain embarrassment sets in, a stigma of failure and lack of integrity that even the most charming public relations personnel can't extinguish.
While the incumbent sits at home making personal calls for money, the challenger is volunteering her time physically laboring her love for the community.
The challenger went out door to door to hear your issues, give a voice to the people while asking to be put on the ballot by the voters, while the incumbent wrote a check.

Firstcoaster 05/16/16 - 11:50 am 62"It is well known..."
by whom?

NewSheriff 05/16/16 - 11:55 am 14First Coaster
The Sheriff himself. Anything else?

Mll211 05/16/16 - 02:59 pm 10J Hamilton
I usually find your posts to be spot on. I think you are missing the point on this one though. There is no evidence because they investigated themselves instead of calling in an outside agency.

Firstcoaster 05/16/16 - 05:02 pm 20"It is well known..."
Who knew that the sheriff was ecstatic? Did the sheriff publicly announce this?

PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM David Shoar and Debra Maynard are running to be the next St. Johns County Sheriff.
PETER.WILLOTT@STAUGUSTINE.COM David Shoar and Debra Maynard are running to be the next St. Johns County Sheriff.

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