Deputy Paula Priester - Public Information Officer, Community Outreach Unit
Phone: (386) 586-4813
Deputy Priester has served over eleven years in the Florida criminal justice system. She began her career in St. Johns County as a juvenile probation officer and acquired experience with the court system before moving into law enforcement as a school resource officer, community relations coordinator, crime prevention officer and public information officer for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Her positions have included extensive community outreach involvement as a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson and liaison to citizens of all ages, the business community, agencies, organizations and the media. As PIO, Deputy Priester has developed and maintained positive relationships with the public and media representatives to facilitate and disseminate reliable agency information. She is a member of the Florida Law Enforcement Public Information Officers Association (FLEPIOA).
Priester holds a B.A. degree in Communication & Public Relations with a journalism emphasis. She has earned two vocational certificates and numerous professional training and development certifications including that of Crime Prevention Practitioner. She is a 21-year Florida resident who shares her life with her husband, a Sergeant with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and their two golden retrievers.
The Media Relations Unit
This Unit is the liaison between the Sheriff's Office, the media and the public. The Media Relations Unit interacts daily with television, radio and print media and other recognized news forums to ensure that the most up to date and reliable information is released to the public.
The Sheriff's Office is committed to informing the community, through the accredited news media, of events and incidents within the public domain and is also committed to fostering a mutual relationship of trust, cooperation and respect between the general public, the news media, and the Sheriff's Office.
Commander Bob Weber serves as the agencies Media Relations point of contact. The office is staffed Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Unit personnel are available 24 hours a day to respond to serious incidents and/or media requests. The Media Relations Unit is located within the Operations Center of the Sheriff's Office.
Media Relations Unit personnel respond to newsworthy events and coordinate the dissemination of information to the news media. This is accomplished by first obtaining information on an incident from the on-scene incident commander. Media Relations personnel will then provide on-camera interviews, radio interviews, etc., followed by a news release that is disseminated to all concerned media on that particular incident. Unit personnel respond regularly to various requests for information from local and national media organizations.
Public Information Office On-Call Policy
The Public Information Office staff strives to be responsive and professional, acting in compliance with the Florida Public Records law and in the best interest of the agency, the news media, and the people of Flagler County. Routine media inquiries and records requests are handled as expeditiously as possible during normal business hours. After hours and on weekends, a media relations staff member is always on-call for emergencies and for significant breaking news events.
After hours, the on-call staff member will generally not have information regarding non-fatal car crashes, routine arrests and crimes not resulting in death or critical injury, or on the status of cases being investigated by other agencies with the assistance of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office.
Written records, including arrest affidavits and event reports, are not available on the weekend and are not disseminated from the Detention Facility.
Media Relations members should be contacted only in situations of high importance. Members of the news media should contact the Sheriff's office Communications Center at 386-313-4911 and request that the on-call PIO be contacted.