SJR STATE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS
Jason Shaw – (1997)
Chief of Police, Palatka Police Dept.
Each month, St. Johns River State College will honor one of its own in an alumni salute, celebrating the career milestones, community contributions and personal reflections of those who began their collegiate journey as SJR State Vikings.
“Attending St. Johns River State College turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life. It had a profound impact on my life - both personally and professionally. I truly feel that I am blessed to be where I am today, and I know that without God, a strong foundation of family and friends, and hard work, none of this would have been possible,” Chief Jason Shaw said.
Palatka Police Department Chief of Police Jason Shaw is a graduate of SJR State and the College’s Law Enforcement Academy. He began his career with the Palatka Police Department in 1999 and served in various roles before being appointed to chief of police in 2015.
The ability to work with the community through community policing and the Palatka Police Athletic League is what Chief Shaw says he likes best about his role with the Palatka Police Department. In August 2016, he had the honor of being inducted into the Bethel AME Church Hall of Fame for his outstanding service in the community. Learn why Chief Shaw chose SJR State for his studies, what his fondest SJR State memory is, his advice to those considering a career in law enforcement, and more.
Why did you choose SJR State for your studies?
I was recruited on a basketball scholarship, but the small town atmosphere and the school environment sealed the deal.
What are your fondest SJR State memories?
Meeting my wife for the first time.
How did your education at SJR State best prepare you for your next step?
My education at the College prepared me for the hard work and dedication it would take to complete the Academy.
Please share more about your career path.
I was hired by the Palatka Police Department in February 1999. After spending four years between the Detective and Patrol Divisions, as part of the Tri-County Task Force and the Crisis Response Team, I was promoted to corporal in 2003. During this time, I assisted in returning the Police Athletic League (PAL) to the City of Palatka; I served as the executive director of Palatka PAL from 2003 to 2016.
After being promoted to sergeant in 2005, I was assigned as the site coordinator of the Palatka Weed and Seed program.
In 2008, I graduated from the University of Louisville’s Southern Police Institute Command Officers Development course.
In 2010, as the Weed and Seed program came to a close, I was reassigned as a supervisor over the Criminal Investigative Division.
In 2013, I was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, where I continued to supervise the Criminal Investigative Division, while taking on the new task of assistant operations commander.
On December 18, 2015, I was appointed by the City of Palatka as chief of police.
What advice would you give to those contemplating a career in your field?
Take time to look into the community and agency you want to work in! Make sure to gather experience in as many areas as possible. The hard work that you put in early will pay off later on.
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