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Nine Interviewed for Revamped Top Cop Post in Flagler Beach as Dan Cody Era Ends

| September 18, 2013

Long-time Police Chief Dan Cody is looking beyond his tenure in Flagler Beach, from which he was edged out by Manager Bruce Campbell, who is replacing the chief's job with a captain. (© FlaglerLive)

Long-time Police Chief Dan Cody is looking beyond his tenure in Flagler Beach, from which he was edged out by Manager Bruce Campbell, who is replacing the chief’s job with a captain. (© FlaglerLive)

By 5 p.m. today a four-person oral board will have completed interviews with nine candidates vying to be the next police chief in Flagler Beach, replacing Dan Cody, who is retiring. Except that the person hired will not be called Chief, but Captain.

It’s part of City Manager Bruce Campbell’s plan to reorganize the Flagler Beach Police Department and the Flagler Beach Fire Department, neither of which will have a chief anymore. Interviews for the fire department’s captain position have not yet been scheduled.

Candidates started interviewing Monday. They include:

  • Leslie Cantrell II, a long-time Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy who retired in 2011.
  • William Shamp, a cop with the Flagler Beach Police Department since 2011.
  • Randall Doyle, a Flagler Beach Police Department cop since 2012 who’d worked 13 years at the Daytona Beach Police Department and, before that, three years at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Nathaniel Ingram, a Flagler Beach Police Department cop who’s also worked in the police departments of Chiefland (as an auxiliary), Lake City (full-time) and Palatka.
  • Joseph Sisti, who’s worked at the State Attorney6’s Office in the 7th District, which includes Flagler, since 2007, was briefly a cop in St. Augustine, a deputy at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office for two separate stints, and a cop in Ormond Beach for a few months. Sisti applied for the chief’s job in Bunnell last year, but did not make the shortlist.
  • Steve Clair, the long-time member of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, rising there to the rank of major until Sheriff Jim Manfre fired him on Manfre’s first day in January. Clair is among seven members of the Sheriff’s Office who have been asked to retire or been fired under Manfre’s tenure, as part of Manfre’s reorganization of the department.
  • John Dance, a long-time state trooper whose tenure there ended in May 2012. He retired as a sergeant.
  • Matthew Doughney, who was a cop in Daytona Beach for 10 years and was a cop in Avon Park from 2008 to 2010.
  • Sterling Dutton Jr., who was an officer in South Carolina, rising to lieutenant in the Charleston Police Department.

Randy Burke, a lieutenant in the Bunnell Police Department, submitted his application after the initial nine, though there was no closing date for the position, and he may yet be interviewed. Burke, who was passed over for police chief in Bunnell last year—and is likely to apply there again now that the position has re-opened, and that the main opponent to his accession, almost ex-City Manager Armando Martinez, is gone. Burke has also shown interest in running for the city commission in Bunnell.

Two other applicants withdrew their candidacy, so the 10 interview subjects represent the totality of the number of applicants for the position.

The field will be narrowed down to three after the interviews, and those three candidates will be presented to the Flagler Beach City Commission at an Oct. 3 workshop—not for the commission to make any decisions on the applicants, but for Campbell to see how the candidates interact with the commissioners and the mayor.

The interview board consisted of Campbell, Cody, Bunnell Police Chief Jeff Hoffman (who will soon move to the sheriff’s office), and Chuck Jones, a store manager at Publix who represents the community on the board. The interviews were held behind closed doors.

“The goal of the oral review,” Campbell briefed city commissioners last week, “is to determine how well the candidate can communicate, express ideas, articulate their thoughts, prepare written documents—along with, of course, demonstrating a proven ability within the law enforcement profession.”

Each applicant was handed the interview questions 30 minutes before the interview and asked the same set of 20 questions (see below). The answers were ranked by each board member.

Clair, the ex-major at the sheriff’s office, was attending a Flagler Beach City Commission meeting on Sept. 12 when Campbell told the commissioners of the briefing packet he’d prepared for them on the upcoming interviews, noting that the interview questions were included. Clair submitted a public records request for the questions and received them on Monday. He was interviewed on Tuesday.

After the oral interview, each candidate was directed to a computer terminal and provided with the following problem statement: “You have received a call from a city commissioner who stated that their son was issued a ticket by a Flagler Beach Police Officer and the ticket was unfairly administered. The commissioner wants the ticket to be taken care of.”

The problem statement was clearly drawn from actual situations, which local cops are wont to face: Just last February, when Lea Stokes, an ex-president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce president was arrested for drunk driving, Stokes asked the arresting officer—Flagler Beach’s J. McCraney—to speak with a supervisor, to ask him to call two city officials “so they could come down and assist her in putting this behind her so she could go home.” The Flagler Beach officers passed the test: they did not comply with Stokes’s request. (The Stokes case is still pending in court, with a possible plea deal in the works for Oct. 2.)

“Please tell us,” the nine applicants are asked in the problem they have to solve, “by typing a response, the process you would use to handle the situation. You have 15 minutes to prepare this report.”

Cody was paid $70,000 a year as police chief. The captain position will pay $58,000. Campbell said he’d checked with Manfre and Bunnell City Manager (and ex-police chief) Armando Martinez about the switch, getting the blessing of both, but both Martinez and Manfre subsequently said they gave no such blessing. Manfre said the change was not wise, and would create situations where, in the presence of several chiefs from other agencies, Flagler Beach’s “captain” would automatically appear to have a lesser rank. Martinez said he’d heard of that being done in rare places, but did not see it creating much difference.

The move, however, was broadly seen as a way for Campbell to get rid of Cody, whom he wanted replaced.

Flagler Beach Police Captain Interview Questions

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21 Responses for “Nine Interviewed for Revamped Top Cop Post in Flagler Beach as Dan Cody Era Ends”

  1. Au Revoir says:

    Thanks to Dan Cody for his years of service but truly his time has come to ride off in to the sunset. His management style will not advance Flagler Beach Police Department to the level of competency it needs. Bill Shamp would be a huge mistake and I would very much like to see Joe Sisti in there. He is a forward thinker and a fair leader.

  2. Ray Thorne says:

    Best of luck to you Steve Clair.

  3. Wave Rider says:

    Cody should have been put out to pasture long ago. Happy retirement Mr. Dan Cody!

    These closed door meetings are for the birds. Transparency, transparency, transparency is a must. This is our tax dollars that pay the salaries of Flagler Beach Police Chief/Captain and those as Campbell, and Hoffman. Hoffman has already proven to be morally and ethically flawed for being a married man having an affair with a city employee who too was married. We don’t need this kind of drama in Flagler Beach. What is Campbell thinking, or is he?

    • Mr.mondex says:

      I see four to choose from,,,, joe sisti first. Randy Burke second,, Steve Clair. Third, and last but not least. ,fourth,,John dance,,, all these fine law enforcement officers are familiar with our area and definitely are qualified for this position. I would have a hard time deciding among these four .maybe we should ask manfre for his choice ?…..NOT !!!!!!!!! And as far as mr.hoffman. Let him go to the sheriffs office where he will fit right In with the last of manfres cronies and all the other good lawmen who survived under his reign of showboating tactics,,as a matter of fact. Lets save Steve. For the next sheriff’s election,now that would be bitter sweet. Steve Clair for sheriff ….all who agree hit that like button !!!!!

  4. Ray Thorne says:

    Seems odd to me that Campbell changed the name of the position to get rid of Cody and Manfre has done the same to get rid of people at the Sheriffs office. And they never talked about it? Right!

  5. Profiler says:

    Awesome….Steve Clair or Matt Doughney would be awesome! If the locals knew Matt Doughney as I do…they would be behind him 100 percent. No baggage. 100 percent law enforcement professional with many years of experience. Nice family too.

    Can’t believe some of the people applying…what a joke! At least one with a questionable, if not criminal past.

    This selection panel is a joke. None of those people, except Hoffman, know a thing about what it takes to be in command.

  6. Been There says:

    Why not the question……as chief, your officer arrests a prominent resident. Then you receive a call from a few commissioners who want the officer fired because of the arrest. You refuse to fire the officer, because the officer didn’t do anything wrong. Then the commissioners and city manger want you fired. What would you do?

    Trust me, I know for an absolute fact this happened in Flagler Beach.

  7. Curious says:

    What does a trooper know about administration or having employees to deal with? Ask ex-sheriff Bob Vogel how it worked out for him.

  8. HJ says:

    Go Steve Clair !!!!!!!!

  9. FB Insider says:

    So let’s hurry up and hire a Captain for the police department that already has a Chief but no interviews have been scheduled for the fire department that has nobody in charge? oh, that’s right can’t do that yet, Pace is still dealing with his criminal charges. No way can Campbell even think of anyone but his boy being cleared and his master plan complete.

  10. tom dooly still hangin 'round says:

    You have got to be kidding me? One on the list has been accused more than once (and charges we’re dropped {more than once} imagine that?) Ask his friend’s daughter how she feels? Randy Burke is fine good man; but unfortunatley won’t happen in fb; too many things going on “behind closed doors”; just like bunnell. People not qualified to do their job, but are still on the payroll because c.a.’s buddy’s.Commissioners don’t care as usual; look into it commissioners; do what the people elected you to do.Do i need to give ya’ll a hint?. Thank you Dan Cody for all those good years and hope you enjoy your well deserved retirement.Happy fishing!

  11. Nobody says:

    I’ve met Randy Doyle and Sterling Dutton. Either would be a great addition. Best of luck!!

    • question says:

      “It’s part of City Manager Bruce Campbell’s plan to reorganize the Flagler Beach Police Department and the Flagler Beach Fire Department, neither of which will have a chief anymore. Interviews for the fire department’s captain position have not yet been scheduled”. Did anyone elses jaw drop when they read this? Your attempt to “reorganize” is to remove the Chiefs position? So I could only assume that he is now going to over see and run “businesses” he knows nothing about? Logical!

  12. Charles "Bub" Robson says:

    Well lets see how long this new rank of LESS THEN CHIEF will last. Rumor has it this is the first step of eliminating the FBPD, and placing Law Enforcement under FCSO. Also look at this BPD’S chief has left and now in the employ of FCSO. Question are we in the last throws of two (2) police depts. in Flagler County? I was considering applying when I heard of the MASTER PLAN for Law enforcement. Watch out folks this could occur before you know it, and you the VOTER will have no say in what Law Enforcement agency does your POLICING. Back in the day I fought the POWERS TO BE to save FBPD from being eaten up by FCSO, and things in the city got real dicey. Voters be heard, or your Law Enforcement will cost you more. Consolidation never saves money, check it out, Police management is not Rocket Science.

  13. Long time Flagler Resident says:

    I have worked with three of these individuals and would strongly recommend Joe Sisti and Randy Burke for this position. Joe has been a law enforcement officer command staff level at FCSO for years. After that he went to St. Augustine Beach Police as the Assistant Police Chief gaining more command staff experience and now at the State Attorney’s Office gaining insight of what is needed to prosecute these criminals out there. Now Randy Burke has worked at Flagler Beach Police Department for years and gained all the ins and outs of the city. Randy gained command staff experience at Bunnell Police Department and is a cops cop too.

  14. John Smith says:

    Both of these POSITIONS the PD Captain and the FD Captain are going top be Campbells DO BOYS so his CHOICE is going to be Shamp and Pace. Shamp already is with his going around Frank and of coarse we all KNOW Pace is just waiting for his CRIMINAL court appearance the 2nd of Oct then Campbell will plead for his Boy to be let free so he can do his bidding at the FD. I seen Shamp do this the 4th of july working closely with Campbell so its a NO brainer who his choice is . This is all just a smoke screen is so Campbell can show he was fair, and we all KNOW he is a LIAR in everything he puts out of his MOUTH.

  15. Rob Newbury says:

    This was a half baked, hair brained idea from the beginning. Call the position what you want but the end result is that the individual who accepts this position will be making the day to day decisions of the department and be responsible for the supervision of his patrol officers for $12,000 less money. The city manager will be attempting to micro manage and may undermine any day to day decisions the new Captain/Chief may make. It will not work in the long run.

    The key to this whole process is to hire someone with NO baggage, no past or present legal issues, no past or present moral issues, no past or present ethical issues. The vetting process must be taken seriously. (as noted in previous articles, this is not Mr. Campbell’s expertise).

    The appointee should run the department as a business and manage his employees accordingly. Train by policy and procedure, hold the officers accountable for their actions, utilize progressive discipline when needed and not sweep personnel issues under the rug. Listen to and be tuned into what is going on both within the department and listen to the public regarding their perception of the department. And USE that information to make necessary adjustments for improvement. The incumbent must have the guts to question and stand up to the ” powers that be” and not be a puppet or a yes man.

    The city manager should only be involved to the extent of having weekly meeting (or whatever is the norm) to be briefed on progress of current projects, grants or whatever major issues relating to city business or department improvements.

    The citizens need to speak up and let the commissioners know what is the feeling of the community. Our voice is important. If we don’t get it together we will loose the department to the county. I too agree with Bub Robson that this is part of the master plan. Please lets not let that happen.

    That’s my two cents.

  16. Charles "Bub" Robson says:

    Two (2) things the head of a Police agency has: Authority and Responsibility. Question will the position of LESS THEN CHIEF have both of these, or will the Political Head in the city make LAW ENFORCEMENT decisions. When the city starts diluting the Police Authority the dept will be weakened greatly. I call on the CITY COMMISSIONERS to do what is right and correct for the PD, if a title LESS THEN CHIEF is given, the City and the PD will be the Laughing Stock of the Law Enforcement Community. Check it out, the first rule of Police Management is equal Authority and Responsibility for the Head of a Police Agency.

  17. Rob Newbury says:

    If indeed the city manager chooses to intrude in the day to day decisisons of police matters it only shows us that he and ultimately the comission have no faith in the competence of the new Captain or the officers in the department. It will be a sad day in Flagler Beach and bring the department one step closer to county control.

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