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Chief Rick Look, Ailing, Will Not Return to Sheriff’s Office; Maj. O’Brien Likely Successor

| January 19, 2012

Chief Rick Look. (© FlaglerLive)

Under-sheriff Rick Look will not be returning to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Don Fleming said Thursday. Look, 62, has been battling health issues since last year. He will most likely be replaced by Maj. David O’Brien, who’s been acting under-sheriff.

“The chief is out on what you call long-term disability, it falls underneath the workman’s comp, he applied for that and was approved so he;s not officially retired, he’s just on long-term disability,” Fleming said. Look can be on disability for up to three years, when Medicare kicks in. Nevertheless, Fleming said of Look, “his time with the sheriff’s office is over. I’m going to miss him, he’s been a great addition to the office, with all the years he’s put in with FDLE running the Jacksonville office. He’s surely going to be missed.”

“Since July,” Look said, “I’ve had quite an ordeal, and it’s sort of brought me to the point that I realize you can only go so far in this business. The doctor says I’m mending well and that’s a good thing. But that’s all I can tell you about that. I’m going to miss the job.”

“I’m doing better, I can tell you that,” Look added. “That pretty much sums it up. I’m at the end of my career here, 42 years.”

Fleming hired Look in June 2005, when Look was assistant special agent in charge for the Jacksonville region. Look was replacing William Karback, who Fleming fired. Look started his career with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 1978 after working almost 10 years with the Washington, D.C., and St. Petersburg police departments. He’d served on a SWAT team and been a detective before joining FDLE. He’s also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and an Army veteran.

Look had been involved in Flagler County issues well before his appointment at the Sheriff’s Office. In 1999, he served on a panel of law enforcement and local officials to pick a police chief for Bunnell, where the police department had been–as it has continued to be since–mired in controversies. Look is also the commander of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart—Chapter 808, which he helped form formed in Sept. 2008.

Look said he’ll stay involved in local charities and is on call with the sheriff’s office if needed, but he’ll be spending more time with his family Will stay involved in charities, veterans issues, but spending more time with family and taking “care of those things that I never could take care of before. Most important thing is to get my health back to where I can enjoy the rest of my life.”

O’Brien is one of three majors at the Sheriff’s Office. Steve Clair and John Plummer are the other two. Majors are paid $90,000. Although it’s been known for months that Look would not return, his status with worker’s compensation wasn’t known until recently. Fleming won’t announce the changes officially until February, nor the appointment of a new under-sheriff. “I’ll make that determination at another time,” Fleming said. The under-sheriff runs the day-to-day operations of the department. “I want to evaluate David in that position. I want to have an opportunity to evaluate the other two majors.” Clair heads the patrol division, with three captains who report to him–Mark Carman, Paul Bovino and Robert Weber. Plummer is in charge of the investigative division and O’Brien had been heading the administrative division.

Fleming said the change won’t mean a change in philosophy, which remains his own. “We have a boots on the ground philosophy,” he said. “They’re out there on the street, it’s a military version of what they call boots on the ground. And it’s working very well.”

Fleming is running for reelection this November, and is already facing two opponents.

“We’ve had six years of getting the department where we want it to be,” Look said, “and we’ve got good staff on board. The mission always continues, regardless of who’s at the helm, and I think the sheriff will make the right choice in what he wants.”

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17 Responses for “Chief Rick Look, Ailing, Will Not Return to Sheriff’s Office; Maj. O’Brien Likely Successor”

  1. angryinpalmcost says:

    Wishing Chief Look the best of wishes with his illness and prayers go out to the Look family. They are truly a wonderful family. I will pray for you Chief. Get Well Soon,

  2. Joe A. says:

    Good luck and God Speed Mr. Look. What is he ailing from?

    • Tom says:

      There’s a reason why everybody’s medical information is protected by federal law. If he wanted you to know what was wrong, he would have told you.

      • Joe A. says:

        Thanks Tom! You are certainly Captain obvious, well done.
        What I am curious to know and no one has said anything about is how long he has been out on medical leave. He has been battling medical health issues, but still on the public tax roles. So the tax payers of Flagler County have been paying for his insurance and salary since his illness last year. Looks like the tax payers get the shaft again by having to pay for a workers compensation claim and long term disability. This is on top of his benefits he receives from Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Double dipping? Why hasn’t the Tea Party jumped on this?

        • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

          Have you told them? People around here don’t seem to give a damn about this stuff. They keep the same people in office by not bothering to vote. What ya gonna do? Is it the TPs responsibility or the citizens of this fair community to stop this?

          I think we all know the answer.

  3. Frank says:

    Joe, it’s covered under insurance not tax payers, hes on long term disability. After 42 years of service in law enforcement and a Vietnam veteran its safe to say that he is entitled to the support of tax payers and the Sheriff’s Office.

    [Frank, you can make your perfectly legitimate point without insulting a commenter raising perfectly legitimate questions, and compelling us to waste time editing your foul language, which only fouls the department and the man on whose behalf you claim to be speaking.–FlaglerLive]

  4. Livininpc says:

    Prayers go out to Chief Look always you are and were the best!
    However the replacement pick IS NOT a good one!

  5. Jack Howell says:

    I would also like to include the fact that Rick Look has received two Purple Hearts during his service to our nation. He has had an outstanding career in law enforcement and deserves the proper respect from the citizens of our county and nation. Not cheap shots like Joe A.

    By the way, I am also a receipient of the Purple Heart so I know first hand the hell Rick endured.

    Jack D. Howell
    Colonel, USMC (Ret)

  6. Joe A. says:

    @ Jack Howell – I would never discredit the work that our veterans have provided our nation. Your service and those who fought with you are greatly admired. I congratulate you and Mr. Look on receiving the Purple Heart., your sacrifice and service will never be forgotten. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You. We are the land of the free, because we are home of the brave. I enjoy my freedom Thanks to You.

    My question is simply asking what qualifies someone for disability and is this a job related illness or injury. I want to make sure that the system is being fairly utilized.

  7. bruce ashley says:

    Chief Look (Rick) is one of the finest I have had to pleasure and honor of going through a door with and together just sitting and talking with in my years here in florida. His contributions to our state and the Flagler area are unreachable by most. I wish him and his family the very best and very much hope to see him in the future now that he is retiring.

  8. motherof3 says:

    O’Brien has been in the “palace” a little too long! He has lost touch with the men who actually patrol this county. His interests have become strictly political and self motivated. This county needs someone who sees the day to day activity. Major Steve Clair would be a much better choice! He is out there day in and day out and knows what this county needs.

  9. Ed says:

    I agree with motherof3, O’brien has definitely lost touch with the men who patrol. Not to mention I question his credibly. Isn’t he dating a county commissioner? Isn’t that a conflict of interest? I know deputies can’t date their supervisors. Major Clair is much better for that job.

    • Manny Funes says:

      Hey Joe, thanks for the update. I spent some time in the 70s and 80s with Rick Look working cases in the Tampa Bay area……Rick was a pretty good cop. Keep us updated. Aloha, Manny

  10. Lee Ellen Johnson says:

    Rick & Karen,

    Danny & I send you love, prayers & a hand reached out in friendship to a true professional in law enforcement. In lieu of the newest development, God can perform miracles and does every day.

    Rick, we love you & we are friends weaved into a tapestry of your life praying for you. You can overcome by the Grace of God & bounce back.

    From our Hearts,
    Danny & Lee

    • Sharon and Dennis Vaccaro says:


      You and I worked many cases together when I worked for the Medical Examiner’s office in Pinellas County, Florida. You were excellent as a Detective then with SPPD and I want to wish you and your family well as you go through these hard times with your medical issues. Good luck and God Bless you.

      Sharon and Dennis Vaccaro

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