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Alums Hardwick and Carswell bring Flagler Faces to Local Law Enforcement

Oct 1, 2021

St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick and Cheif of Police for the city of St. Augustine Beach answer a few questions on their past and how they got into law enforcement.

Sheriff Robert Hardwick
Sheriff Robert Hardwick

Robert Hardwick, '08

Sheriff, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Robert Hardwick has had a long career in public service. A 25-year military veteran, Hardwick served in the U.S. Army and the Florida Army National Guard before retiring in 2018.

In addition to military service, Hardwick's 26-plus year law enforcement career has encompassed four counties on the First Coast - Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia - and has included stints as Assistant Chief Investigator with the Office of the State Attorney 7th Judicial Circuit and as chief of police for the St. Augustine Beach Police Department.

In November 2020, Hardwick was elected sheriff, the top law enforcement post at the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. A 2008 graduate of Flagler College, Hardwick says the leadership experience he gained while earning a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration “put an exclamation point on my resume.”

Q. What raw talents do you need to be successful in law enforcement?

A. Communication skills and community involvement. You've got to be able to talk to anybody - every race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation.

Q. How do you like the job of sheriff so far?

A. It has been unreal … more than I ever could have imagined. I'm surrounded by some amazing people that truly represent this profession, and I'm serving an amazing community that really stands behind our law enforcement. It's been humbling, truly humbling.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A. The people. Not just people in my agency. It is people we get a chance to serve. I've met so many amazing people in this profession - whether they're serving our country or serving our community or serving their families.

Chief Daniel Carswell
Chief Daniel Carswell

Daniel Carswell, '15

Chief of Police, City of St. Augustine Beach

Though Daniel Carswell aspired to serve in the U.S. military like his father before him, being on a ship for six months out of the year just wasn't him. Instead, he spent his early 20s as a search-and-rescue lifeguard in Jacksonville Beach.

When it was time to choose a career, he decided to go the law enforcement route. He entered the police academy in 2004 in Jacksonville, and shortly thereafter, joined the St. Augustine Beach Police Department. Since then, Carswell has been promoted through the ranks, first as a sergeant in 2012, then as a lieutenant in 2017.

After serving in the St. Augustine Beach Police Department for more than 14 years, Carswell was appointed chief of police in November 2020. He is a 2015 graduate of the Flagler College Public Administration program.

Q. Why did you choose law enforcement?

A. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Being a police officer, it's something completely different every day. Solving a different problem or finding a way to help somebody in a different way or undertaking a different challenge every day, I absolutely love that.

Q. What raw talents do you need to be successful in law enforcement?

A. Dedication to yourself, to your community … and you have got to be dedicated to the job. It's not an easy job. You've really got to want to do it, and you've got to love it. You also have to have integrity and loyalty because this job will test you. If you're not an honest person, it's going to come to light one way or the other.

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