Sunday, November 22, 2015

Debra Maynard running for Sheriff, St. Johns County

Debra Maynard to run for St. Johns County sheriff in 2016
Posted: November 21, 2015 - 8:06pm | Updated: November 22, 2015 - 7:11am


When St. Johns County’s Republicans vote in the primary for sheriff next year, they will be offered a choice on the ballot.

Debra Maynard, 55, is the only candidate so far to officially announce her intention to run for sheriff, according to the St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections website.

During a recent interview with The Record, Sheriff David Shoar confirmed he will seek a fourth term. As of Thursday, his candidacy for next year’s election was not yet official.

Maynard, who moved to St. Johns County in 1988, has a background in health, criminal justice and counseling. She attended the St. Johns County Civilian Law Enforcement Academy, which she says inspired her career in law enforcement. She was hired by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in 2007, where she worked for five years as a patrol deputy and as the crisis intervention coordinator.

Maynard no longer works for the Sheriff’s Office, but maintains her law enforcement certification. She now works as an office and project manager.

Like Shoar, Maynard is a Republican, but her views on two “hot-button” issues — the death of Michelle O’Connell and use of body cameras — oppose those of Shoar.

O’Connell died in September 2010 in St. Johns County, where her boyfriend, Jeremy Banks, was a sheriff’s deputy. The gun used was Banks’ department-issued handgun.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office led the initial investigation that was eventually ruled a suicide, but members of her family say she wouldn’t have killed herself and blame Banks for her death. Two recent investigations by state attorney’s offices outside the 7th Judicial District have not found sufficient evidence to bring any charges against Banks. He is still employed with the Sheriff’s Office.

Maynard was one of the many deputies who responded to the shooting.

She later served as a source for extensive investigative pieces produced by The New York Times and PBS Frontline that were critical of how the Sheriff’s Office handled the case.

In an email to The Record this week, Maynard declined to talk further about the O’Connell case, citing “active litigation.”

But a community Facebook page called “Justice for Michelle O’Connell” voices the group’s support for her candidacy, and asks followers to donate to Maynard’s campaign.

Maynard also supports a Florida House bill that would make it mandatory for police officers to wear body cameras on their uniform.

“There has got to be some form of accountability and body cams are protection for both the officer and civilian involved in an altercation,” she said.

Her website continues, “I agree there are flaws that need to be worked out as far as how to store the video and policy to be written as to when and where the camera is to be turned on.”

So far, Maynard’s campaign has raised more than $5,000, according to the Supervisor of Elections website.

Maynard told The Record this week she doesn’t take her decision to run for sheriff lightly.

“I fought it for quite a while,” she said. “I conferred with family and friends, and I felt it was time I said ‘yes’ to God and ‘no’ to my own doubts.”

Maynard concedes running against a fellow Republican who has been unopposed in his last two elections will be challenging. But that is only one obstacle she has to overcome, she said.

“I am not a politician by a long shot, and there will be some doubters that will say I cannot handle the job,” she said.

If elected, Maynard hopes to bring “change, accountability and transparency” to the Sheriff’s Office.

“We need to bring back respect for the men and women that wear the badge,” she said. “They place their lives on the line each day and we owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Deputy visibility and compensation are two items Maynard hopes to address, if elected.

“Manpower is a top priority; we need more patrol deputies and a visible presence in the local communities,” she said. “[And] the person that will take the bullet is the person that needs the compensation.”

She also supports efforts to benefit those suffering from mental health or domestic violence, both outside and within the law enforcement community. She also hopes to bring the crisis intervention team back up to standard.

A member of Good News Church, Maynard credits her faith with helping her get through difficult times in her life.

“I knew within myself, the challenges (of running for sheriff) would be an uphill battle, but I also believe that with God, anything is possible,” she said. “I am a woman that feels I can bring positive change to this county.”


pattyoconnell 11/21/15 - 10:20 pm 00Great Days for St Johns Co FL
Because Debra Maynard will bring change in how people view Law Enforcement in St. Johns County FL. She is well known as the deputy who wouldnt look the other way...when asked to by previous boss ..that takes courage...

Morris1 11/22/15 - 12:04 am 00Who opposes body cameras?
That's an awfully scary thought... They're an honest cop's best friend, a dishonest liar's worst enemy. They have a tempering effect on abusive and boorish behavior, it seriously diminishes the ability of liars to lie, be it bad cops or losers accusing honest cops of things they didn't do.

Do we not have them here in SJC? Because that's a scary thought, considering how much funding our Sheriffs Office gets. Will be interesting to hear what Sheriff Shoar (who I otherwise support) has to say on that issue.

pattyoconnell 11/22/15 - 06:19 am 00Strange How SJSO EMPLOYEES 2010 were handed bonus checks
After Michelle O'Connell was murdered in ST JOhns Co FL, all employees of SJSO received bonus checks.
Maybe Shoar will hand out somemore PICK ME FOR SHERIFF MONEY?

pattyoconnell 11/22/15 - 06:22 am 00sheriffs bonus money
Sheriff Shoar made you come into his office and put the check in your hand and looked you in the eye...hmmm
Makes you wonder...

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