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A Day After an Embarrassing Revelation About His Lacking Gun Qualification, Sheriff Manfre Passes 2 Tests

| August 1, 2014

Some deputies have grumbled about Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre carrying a gun before his certification, which he attained only Friday, a year and a half into his second tenure as sheriff. (© FlaglerLive)

Some deputies have grumbled about Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre carrying a gun before his certification, which he attained only Friday, a year and a half into his second tenure as sheriff. (© FlaglerLive)

On Thursday the News-Journal’s Tony Holt reported that Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre has not secured his law enforcement firearms qualification well into the second year of his four-year tenure–though a sheriff is not required to have the qualification. (The story is behind a paywall.)

By noon Friday, Manfre had secured his qualification, passing two tests with two weapons, with Jim Troiano, director of operational support at the sheriff’s office, signing off on the tests.


Manfre had attended a week-long training session in mid-July. There are conflicting reports about whether Manfre sought his qualification there. Sheriff’s Spokesman Bob Weber told the News-Journal that the sheriff did not seek the qualification at that training session, that he was there merely to get some shooting practice. Others familiar with the day’s events say he took and failed the test.

That contention, Manfre said Friday, is “a salacious accusation.” When he spent a week training, as all deputies were required to do, “It was not my intent to go out there to qualify. If it was I would have spent the week before practicing for the qualifying protocol.”

Gun issues have been somewhat of a sore point around Manfre, whose own troops, some of them since fired or laid off, have criticized him for wearing a uniform and carrying a firearm without a qualification. He is the only sheriff in Florida not to have been a sworn law enforcement officer before taking office in January 2013, though being an officer is not a requirement for the job anymore than a certain IQ is a requirement for other elected positions. When he was sheriff between 2001 and 2004, Manfre did have his qualification. Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies are required to renew their qualification every two years.

The dissemination of information from the training session had its intended effect, embarrassing the sheriff. Manfre refused to speak to Holt about the matter, directing him to Weber, but by Friday morning, when the sheriff appeared on WNZF’s Free For All Friday with host David Ayres, he was willing to address the matter.

“Looks like you’re dressed for some outdoor duty today, what’s with that, what’s going on with you, what’s your schedule today?” Ayres asked him.

The sort of target Jim Manfre shot at today.

The sort of target Jim Manfre shot at today.

“Well,” Manfre answered, “obviously there’s been an issue come up about my qualifications at the gun range. I’ll tell you I grew up with a gun in my hands, my dad is a hunter, so I’m very comfortable around guns. In my first term I qualified both times. The law simply does not require constitutional sheriffs to have to require–to qualify, but I think it’s important that I’m proficient at a weapon and I intend to go out and qualify today. I have a two-year period to do that, so this opportunity today at the gun range was available, and I’m going to go out and do that.” (Manfre was overstating the case of his youth with guns: he grew up in New York, where, unlike youths in the rural South, youths’ access to guns and opportunity to shoot them are limited.)

In an interview later today, Manfre said that even though the constitution does not require him to have the qualification, “the public should require, and I need to have an obligation, to be proficient in the weapon that I carry. It’s what we tell everyone who carries a weapon, whether it’s a deputy or a resident.” And, he added, “I’m comfortable with the weapon. If I felt I needed more practice I would have done it sooner.”

Manfre took the shooting test today at the Flagler County Gun and Archery Club. “I did everything today that I would have with a normal deputy sheriff,” Troiano said. “I told him right up front this is going to be a qualification course. As a matter of fact, we had a practice round, and he said can I count that, and I said no.”

One course was with the standard issue Glock 22, the 40-caliber weapon issued front-line deputies. The second course was with the Glock 27, a more compact version of the weapon that’s issued to commanders, detectives and undercover cops. “It’s a smaller handgun, the one you normally see him wearing on his belt,” Troiano said.

Click On:


Manfre had to shoot 80 percent or better in both courses. In the first course, he scored 34 out of 42 rounds fired, shooting at a blue silhouette from certain distances: Six rounds in four seconds at a target two yards away (shooting two rounds, pausing, two more rounds, and so on). Then six rounds from the three-yard line, then six rounds from the seven-yard line, and again six rounds in two five-second increments. He then had to shoot 12 rounds in 45 seconds before ending the sequence with six rounds in 30 seconds from the 15-yard line.

The second course was similar, with fewer rounds. He shot 18 times, had to hot the target 14 times. “All we’d want him to do is obtain that threshold,” Troiano said. The gun has to be reloaded as the course went on. The sheriff had to be proficient with fixing malfunctions, safety issues and compliance with the department’s use-of-force protocol. “We were out there for several hours, and as a certified firearms instructor,” Troiano said, speaking of his 18 years’ experience, Manfre “passed without an issue.” Manfre’s documentation will only signal that he passed. It will not reflect his score, Troiano said.

In his first term as sheriff, the range master during Manfre’s qualification was Greg Weston, Holt noted in the News-Journal article. Manfre laid off Weston early in his second tenure. Weston has since been openly critical of the sheriff, and told Holt that, while acknowledging he had a grudge, Manfre “has ‘no business’ carrying a gun and described him as uncoordinated and careless with the weapon.” Weston claims he signed off on the qualification at the time “under a level of duress.”

This morning on WNZF Bunnell Police Chief Tom Foster offered to give Manfre a little training before the course.

“Sheriff, I’m going to barter with you right now, since we’re in a financial crisis,” Foster said, referring to Bunnell’s budget deficit, which forced Foster to reduce his department’s expenses by 40 percent through lay-offs and the cut-back of administrative staff’s hours. “I will take you out there, I will give you one-on-one training. If I can get my daughters to shoot the way they shoot, I can get anybody to shoot. However there’s a catch. I’m going to need a thousand rounds.”

“We’ll talk about that,” Manfre said.

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31 Responses for “A Day After an Embarrassing Revelation About His Lacking Gun Qualification, Sheriff Manfre Passes 2 Tests”

  1. anon says:

    I think a sheriff with an education in the law and intelligence is more important than his personal ability to shoot to kill. jmo

    • Outsider says:

      If you are on the road dealing with any unknown person, your ability to shoot to kill is important. I wonder if the guy administering the exam would have been fired if he didn’t pass him.

  2. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    I’m not surprised at all. I’ve posed the question several times on here as to whether or not he was qualified to be carrying a gun. I saw him recently at a charity event dinner in full regalia with side arm while the other county sheriffs in attendance were wearing shirts and ties, without firearms. His constant need to be identified with his gun tells you something….

  3. wolley segap says:

    The Sheriff is out and about all the time in uniform and carrying his gun. Would you feel the same if he was the only one who stood between you, your family and a gunman?

    • just saying says:

      I’d be mad that he was blocking my shot.

    • Johnny Taxpayer says:

      I dare say I have a touch more fire arms training that Sheriff Napoleon. So no, I won’t be relying on a retired lawyer with a couple hours of hand gun training to protect my family.

  4. Seminole Pride says:

    Everybody in Law, including lawyers, judges, bailiffs, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, correctional officers, and prison wardens should be required to carry a side arm, and be tested on a yearly bases.

  5. Mr. MAGOO says:

    TEST#1. Sheriff Manfre- Is this Mic on?

    TEST#2. Sheriff Manfre- Is this Camera on?

  6. Art says:

    Mr. Manfre seems to have undergone a remarkable transformation, from Barney Fife to Wild Bill Hickock overnight! One has to wonder if they were bullet holes or pen holes in his target.

  7. Greg Weston says:

    I’m quite confident that this post will not make it to the eyes of your readers, or be exceptionally modified by you.

    I find it very suspect that the “No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges” news outlet for Flagler County would run a story, duplicating quotes with out making any attempt to contact all the parties/sides of the issue that they are reporting on.

    Just under two years and only one negative article on the Sheriff, even after you have been provided with documents that demonstrate just the tip of the iceberg of his unethical behavior.

    Its a shame what you have made of the fourth estate, the responsibility of the media in our Country to help maintain the balance between the rights of the people and the behavior of our government.

    I’ll ask the big question that’s on a great number of your readers minds Pierre, whats he got on you?

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      You’re right Greg, bullshitters don’t get to have their comments approved, but I’m not letting your slur go by. My editorials at the News-Journal at the end of Manfre’s first term were likely the reason he lost that election. FlaglerLive has gone at him and his department more than any other outlet, consistently, but when relevant. If you think there’s only been one negative article in that regard, you haven’t been reading. Maybe only one that directly deals with your pet issues. But I’m not your mouthpiece anymore than I’m his, and I sure as hell am going to look at anything anyone dishes out from a grudge with about a truckload of salt. Beyond that, between the time I have in my 15-hour days and the judgments I make, stories appear–or don’t, because I can’t cover every fart.

      That last one about his gun qualification was pure bullshit: I happen to think the more civilian sheriffs there are, the better, and I could care less whether they’re gun proficient or not, though Manfre ironically made the strongest argument for criticizing him: if he’s going to wear one, he’d better be proficient. Tony Holt at the News-Journal did a great job with his story, and the sheriff addressed it the next day. FlaglerLive did a follow-up based on that. You’d made your points to Tony, and you made them to me before. We’re not in the habit of wasting time interviewing just to get redundant quotes. Stick to your job, I’ll stick to mine, and spare me the idiotic baiting about what he has on me. I don’t give credence to most of the things he tells me about you, or they’d have seen print (the way your characterizations of him have). Do me the courtesy of not proving my discretion wrong.

      • truth monitor says:

        Damn your good Mr. Tristam. My respects to you and the unbiased reporting you and your staff have done.

    • Diana L says:

      That was an inappropriate attack on Pierre’s character with no credence presented. Shame.

  8. Enlightened says:

    It use to be yearly, but it has changed. What about his state Law Enforcement certification?

    • wolley segap says:

      Yes…seems to me for someone who I’ve listened to tout his many years of law enforcement experience how is it that he’s never been certified? I have many friends who voted for him thinking he was prior law enforcement because he said he was.

  9. Diana L says:

    Is it true that it is not a requirement? If not, what is the problem ? Given that statement, I don’t see why Sheriff Manre just didn’t get qualified before now.

  10. Rick says:

    The following two statements are excerpts from both the Flagler Live & The Daytona Beach News-Journal newspaper articles;
    “A former Marine and certified weapons instructor, Weston said he signed off on Manfre’s certification both times “under a level of duress.”
    &
    “He said Manfre has “no business” carrying a gun and described him as uncoordinated and careless with the weapon.”

    Akin to Wolley Segap’s statement above, how comfortable might that please you around here?
    Nice to know his subordinates are more qualified.

  11. Jack Howell says:

    Give it a rest. He is qualified! Amen.

  12. Heading North says:

    Of course he passed the qualification shoot!
    Do you really think Mr. Troiano was going to fail the man that gave him a $90K a year job?
    Just look back at what happens to the people who run afoul of Mr. Manfre! — they’re all fired aren’t they?
    Personally, being an FDLE certified firearms instructor myself I was required to witness the shoot, score the target, and do it all in front of two witnesses, and I was in the largest agency in the entire state!
    “Constitutional Sheriff” my a@&!
    Never was a cop, never will be — always just a ” wanna-be” !!!

  13. Enlightened says:

    I still want to know if he completed his other state requirements. Firearms qualification is just one. What about the required training such as Use of Force and Biased Base Profiling, just to name a few.

  14. Bill says:

    As it is NOT required for an elected sheriff to have a ” law enforcement firearms qualification” WHY is this even a story??

  15. anonymous says:

    For all of those asking why his law enforcement qualifications are important, let me explain. While the state does not require a sheriff to have law enforcement certifications, it is incredibly difficult to effectively lead a group of people when you have never been in their shoes. It’s even more difficult for a group of people to follow someone who doesn’t understand their job or the difficulties that come with it. You can’t tell someone how to do their job when you’ve never had to do it yourself……

    • Will says:

      Using that logic, the president of Ford wouldn’t be qualified to lead Ford unless he (or she) started out sweeping up along the production line.

      Different positions require different skills, and a good leader can and should surround him or herself with people who understand all the parts of the organization.

      As. Col. Jack Howell said above, Manfre is qualified.

      • Ray Thorne says:

        And with your logic no one would need to be educated in the fields they choose prior to taking a job.Im sure if Ford would not hire someone to lead the company who did not have the educational background to do so. But starting out sweeping floors and making it to the top is the great American story for many.

  16. Enlightened says:

    It would be different if he did surround himself with qualified personnel. He fired most of them or made their lives miserable so they left. How is that leading? A good leader encourages their subordinates to be the best that they can be, not discourage them.

  17. former leo confused as hell says:

    As an elected Sheiff you are given the choice to become a certified law enforcement officer like the men & women under your command . Or you may elect to be an admistrator, not wearing the badge, gun and uniform and not having law enforement powers that those under your command have. Facts:

    James Manfre has not obtained his law enforcement certification, nor have he attempted to do so. He has been to the gun range numerous times since he took office, but has not qualified with his firearm or attempted to do so; or thats what he and his supporters want you to believe.

    James Manfre has been running around our county, our state and has made random trips in agency vehicle with a gun and badge for the past 18 months. He has not trained, tested or qualified to earn or wear either by FDLE CJSTC standards. He wears this badge or honor and firearm based on an election he won,which makes him and flaglerlive.com believe he is qualified to wear them.

    He makes and signs off on policies involving those under his command but believes he shouldn’t be required to fulfill basic requirements.

    Judges have to be Florida bar attorneys for years before they are qualified to wear a robe and make decision.
    Fire Chiefs have to be certified firefighters before they can wear bunkergear and drag hoses and tell people how to do the same.

    Medical directors have to be doctors for for years before they are qualified to oversee those practicing medicine.

    Yet someone can win an election,call themself the Sheriff (top law enforcement officer for the county) pin a badge on their uniform, wear a firearm they never qualified to shoot , conduct traffic stops and makes arrests when they never learned how to do so and demand respect from those under his command.
    ONLY IN FLORIDA…….btw thats not meant to undermind those other positions just examples

  18. Jennifer S says:

    @ confused LEO: You are not comparing apples to apples. Using your examples… Judges do not have to be paralegals before becoming a Judge, medical directors do not have to be paramedics, RN’s, or med techs before becoming medical directors. As well, it is not a requirement for the Fire Chief of the Fire Department to be a certified firefighter, she/he may simply be an administrative/policy figure for the agency.

    Does it help morale with certain (& at times disgruntled) line level & first responders to have an administrative leader who has a background firmly plucked from the field, sure. But law does not dictate this as a necessity.

  19. Ray Thorne says:

    Jennifer,

    No they don’t have to do those jobs as you describe but they all have to have a background in the line of work they’re in. The only instance where I can think of a non experienced fire chief is an emergency temporary appointment. If anyone can do these jobs then I guess we no longer need academies or colleges to attain certifications and Degrees. I think I’ll go to NASA and demand they let me manage the next launch. I wont have a clue but what could go wrong?

    • Jennifer S says:

      Ray,

      Unknowing NASA’s exact hiring policy I am reasonably sure any position of employment normally doesn’t lend itself to the hiring of persons demanding the launch (or any other) position versus going thru the application, interview, & hiring process, nonetheless… I say go for it! While I am not necessarily staking any particular position on the issues raised by the article I do get somewhat frustrated when I feel like someone utilizing discourse, particularly with a certain pedigree or first hand knowledge presents their position with emotion versus reason. I leave myself open to other, different, reasoned positions. And if, perhaps, I wanted to see the former LEO either become less confused or furthermore less confusing in the delivery of his or her’s point I simply would like to start from a position based more in academia.

      *Just an FYI, there is a large county north of us whose previous Fire Chief was an Administrative figure… there were many of the same sentiments of negativity from the boots on the ground regarding his lack of field experience during his tenure

  20. AMOS says:

    Keep Up The GREAT COVERAGE of OUR COUNTY FLAGLER LIVE !!!

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