ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A new police chief has been named in St. Augustine.
And for the first time in the history of the nation’s oldest city, the seat will be held by a woman.
Commander Jennifer Michaux is the kind of officer who will just stop and talk with folks.
She did just that, stopping to talk with visitors in the plaza, moments after an interview with First Coast News.
She will be the new St. Augustine Police Chief starting in July when the current chief, Barry Fox resigns.
Michaux was in the navy and landed in Jacksonville. In 1995, she joined the St. Augustine Police Department. "I started off on patrol."
She was a beat officer in Lincolnville when it was the roughest part of town and plagued by drugs.
She smiled, "oh yeah. Nights were always fun."
Michaux has worked in the field and in the office.
"My favorite job is patrol sergeant because you’re in the community, part of the community," she said.
Todd Williams works at a local restaurant. He's in his 50's. He was glad to hear Michaux will become police chief. "She is out and about and in the community. And she’s down with people. You can’t beat that!
There are many more people who visit St. Augustine than actually live here. There are millions of tourists. There are only 17,000 residents. That makes protecting and serving everyone here a bit of a juggling act.
"Taking care of our tourists is extremely important," Michaux said. "If our tourists don’t feel safe, and we don’t put on our best face for them to come back, we’re going to hurt that industry. And that's the biggest part of our economy."
St. Augustine has its issues: homelessness, population growth, and it’s a hotbed for political and social rallies.
The department has 58 positions, and 54 are filled. There are ten women working for the St. Augustine Police Department. Michaux said she plans to hire more people and more minorities.
Michaux said one of her big goals is getting officers to build more relationships through their many talents.
"I’d like to get them back into the community and part of the community and buy-in," she said.
Michaux said it’s a way to better connect with people and real boots on the ground police work.
As for being the city’s first woman police chief, she said it's an honor.
"I don’t feel I’ve been held back because I’m a woman or been given anything because I’m a woman .I think I’ve stepped up to do anything and learn anything out of drive," Michaux said.