Skip to content

Meet Jim Priester

Jim’s 27-year career with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office follows in the footsteps of a family proudly dedicated to Florida law enforcement—he is the fourth generation of loyal public servants. In 1940, his great-grandfather was Sheriff of Putnam County; his grandfather was with the Florida Highway Patrol; and his father served with the Palatka Police Department.

His training, service, knowledge and experience encompassed all areas of the office—including concurrent, specialized training and service with the SWAT Team, the Bomb Squad and the Dive team. 

Deputy Priester began his law enforcement career in 1996.  During his career, he served in many roles with the Sheriff’s Office and established relationships of trust with all ages of the citizens of St. Johns County—from youth to seniors.  

As a Youth Resource and Truancy Deputy, Priester supervised and mentored over 300 troubled youths on Juvenile Probation Orders. He is responsible for creating the Police Athletic League Golf Program with over 100 participants which transitioned into the First Tee Program of St Johns County.

Jim achieved the top levels, in multiple disciplines, as a Certified Law Enforcement Trainer during his seven years in the SJSO Training Unit. Prior to his promotion to Sergeant, he supervised the entire Patrol Division Field Training and Evaluation Program. 

As a Patrol Shift Leader, Jim was involved in several life threatening events that required his leadership and critical thinking skills to ensure the safety of the deputies working with him as well as the community affected by these situations.

While leading the Community Affairs Unit as Sergeant and then Lieutenant Priester, he supervised and managed multiple agency functions, community events and crime prevention programs. All employees assigned under his command followed his example and became more actively involved with numerous community organizations.

As Patrol Watch Commander, Lieutenant Priester was not only responsible for up to two-thirds of the county’s geographical area but also managed up to 25-plus deputies and their supervisors.

Throughout his career, Priester has been honored for his dedication to service:  he has earned the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of a fellow deputy sheriff; the Combat Award; three Meritorious Service Awards; two Sheriff’s Commendations and two Sheriff’s Unit Awards and his 20 Year Commendation. Countless letters of appreciation have been received from grateful citizens.

Priester was awarded the original Proclamation declaring October 21st 2014 as K9 Baron Day after he carried K9 Baron out of the woods to a vehicle that rushed him to an emergency vet.  Sadly, K9 Baron died from injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Jim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Flagler College and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership and Management from Webster University.

Jim and his wife, Paula, live in Hastings with their two horses (Cash and Apatchy) and loyal pup Cadey. They enjoy attending services at the historical First Baptist Church of Hastings and being a part of the small-town community.