Editorial: Thin-skinned sheriff afraid to be “roasted”

When you think of the man or woman who leads from the front of the county’s primary law enforcement agency, the person citizens depend on to protect them from hardened criminals and life threatening emergencies, you would like to think you are counting on someone unafraid of the dangers inherent in the job of sheriff. And then there is St Johns County’s sheriff — David B. Shoar.

Shoar was invited by, and initially agreed to assist, the local Republican Party, of which he is a registered member, when they were looking for someone strong enough to take a little good-natured ribbing to help them reach their fundraising goal for this year.

Republican Party donors, current and former elected officials, Executive Committee members and other financial supporters were mailed an invitation on March 30th to “save the date” for a celebrity roast of Sheriff Shoar and silent auction.

Of course, a “roast” is a banquet to honor a person. But during the ceremonies, as part of the entertainment for the invited guests, the honoree is subjected to some comedic ridicule at the hands of a few peers, family members, and others who are selected to sit on the dais. You would think that would not be a problem for our courageous sheriff, even an opportunity for him to make some fun of himself to help loosen the checkbooks from the guests in attendance at the charitable event.

But when you’ve accumulated twelve-years’ worth of baggage from some controversial, arguably poor decisions, particularly those that benefited himself and a closely-knit group of insiders, at least publicly, it may be wise to rethink booking such engagements — and he did, leaving less than a month for his hosts to come up with an alternate plan.

After some tickets had already been sold at $130 per couple as a “roast”, Historic City News editor, Michael Gold, received a second invitation advising that the location for the event would be St Joseph Academy, the meal was being catered by La Cocina International Restaurant, and craft beers and cocktails would be available for sale by Ancient City Brewing and St Augustine Distillery.

Giving the pretext that an opportunity to learn about urgent matters of interest to the national security outweighed the frivolity of launching scuds at Sheriff Shoar, the roast was abandoned. In its place? A sure-to-be insufferable lecture from Shoar on the dangers of opioid painkillers.

But at least Shoar will get the chance to hear his favorite person speak and he won’t have to worry about any potentially embarrassing questions about his deputy’s excessive use of deadly force, or killing their domestic partner, only to be kept on the payroll. In one case, a deputy was quietly returned to the department payroll after they were terminated with great publicity when the state attorney announced that they were being prosecuted for domestic violence.

Oh, and you need to hurry up and buy your tickets, $750 for a table of eight, because “seats are limited”.

By Tuesday of this week, three days before the event, yet another revised flyer is received.  After receiving complaints about the partisan political fundraiser being held at St Joseph Academy, the location of the event is changed to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport and Convention Center and the ticket vendor is advertising a new, lower priced $40 ticket for students and Young Republican members. And, if you buy tickets today, your purchase price includes one free drink ticket!

Sales of tickets are apparently not so brisk as the Republican Party might have banked for this exciting chance to hear Sheriff Shoar prattle on for three-and-a-half hours from 7:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. tonight.

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