Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chatting Up the Community; Sheriff Takes to Streets of Hilliard to Learn Concerns

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chatting Up the Community; Sheriff Takes to Streets of Hilliard to Learn Concerns

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

HILLIARD -- Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves took to the streets of Hilliard Tuesday afternoon, knocking on doors and meeting residents, chatting about whatever was on their minds.

It was the first of a series of community walks, he said.

Seagraves, flanked by his administrative staff, arrived at the home of Betty Dyal about 5:15 p.m. His motorcade of golf carts, flanked by two patrol cars, then headed north on Pine Street, visiting area residents until nightfall.

Seagraves asked Dyal if she lived by herself and suggested that her name be added to a Sheriff's Office senior citizens' list.

She agreed, and Nassau County Sheriff's Office Lt. Shelton Jones, who is in charge of civil matters, added Dyal to the list on the spot.

"We'll stop in from time to time, check on her and make sure she's all right," Jones said. "I'll have a deputy here tomorrow."

Seagraves spoke with residents and called in his supervisors when they asked a question about their departments.

"We all have our own divisions, and if a particular problem relates to a particular division, we can assist," Nassau County Sheriff's Office Maj. Connie Johnson said.

Seagraves, who's been in office for seven months, said the walking tour is important to do his job as sheriff.

"We're out to see people and meet people. We have to listen to everybody. We can't fix it if we don't know it," the sheriff said.

Seagraves has served with the Sheriff's Office for 22 years and was raised in Nassau County, so he ran into several people he knew. As he shook hands with Hilliard resident Luke Bullard near his mailbox, Seagraves said he was the resource officer at Bullard's school.

"I've known Luke and his wife for years," Seagraves said.

"It's real good to see you," Bullard said.

Seagraves said he wants the neighborhood walk to be a mark of his administration.

"This is really important to me; we have to be more hands-on and personal with the citizens. It's important to listen to them. We're going to do it all throughout the county. We're also talking about doing town hall meetings," Seagraves said.

Hilliard resident Sam Sasser saw the group and stepped forward to greet the sheriff. …

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