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Sgt. Larry Jones, One of Flagler Sheriff’s First Black Deputies, Retires After 30 Years

| December 4, 2014


Sgt. Larry Jones then and now: he retired last week after 30 years’ service for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office along with family and friends said Thank You to Sergeant Larry D. Jones Saturday (November 29) at a retirement party at the Palm Coast Yacht Club in Palm Coast.

Jones’s career has straddled the best and worst of the county’s history. When he was hired in October 1984, Jones was only the fifth African-American deputy hired in Flagler County, which only a few years earlier had been the last county to desegregate its schools in Florida.

Jones’s last official public act, the evening before his retirement, was attending the Call to Action organized by the Flagler County Branch of the NAACP in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old black man. Jones was the supervisor the last time deputies in Flagler shot and killed a man–on Dec. 15, 2012, when two deputies confronted  Troy Evan Gordon, 32, in his garage, as Gordon (who was black) was allegedly wielding a machete, and one of the deputies shot him 10 times. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation cleared the deputies. Gordon’s family is contesting the shooting.

In 2002, during Sheriff Jim Manfre’s first tenure as sheriff, Jones filed a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and against Bunnell city government, charging that Bunnell discriminated against him when it refused to have the Sheriff’s Office supervise its often troubled police department while the city sought a new chief. Bunnell had made the decision to rebuff Jones after learning that he would be the one in charge. The city commission, too, officially voted to reject Jones, a Bunnell resident, in a remarkable display of public bigotry.

A career that witnessed some of Flagler’s best and worst characteristics.

That was a time when Bunnell was more comfortable arresting blacks rather than seeing them in positions of responsibility, an attitude that began changing only recently. The News-Journal reported at the time that then-Bunnell City Commissioner Flynn Edmunson had told Manfre that the all-white police department didn’t want to be supervised by a black man, comments Edmunson denied making.

“What I got was a reaction maybe I naively did not expect, and through that maybe I learned something,” Manfre, who had backed Jones’s decision to file the complaint, told the local NAACP at the time. “We have a long way to go.”

Bunnell has since had a Hispanic and a black police chief.

Jones began his career as a Corrections Officer five years after graduating from Flagler-Palm Coast High School, at a starting salary of $10,500. (In inflation-adjusted dollars, that’s the equivalent of $24,000 today.)

Jones transferred from the jail to the agency’s road patrol about six months later. He remained in the patrol division, rising to sergeant. Jones was later transferred to the Palm Coast Precinct by Sheriff Jim Manfre, serving as a supervisor and assisting the public with concerns and complaints. (David Williams was promoted to sergeant in January to prepare replacing Jones.)

Jones’ personnel file, a news release from the sheriff’s office states, is filled with a number of commendations for his professionalism, dedication, courteousness and respectful demeanor. During his tenure, he was awarded a Meritorious Service award, Certificate of Appreciation, and Safe Driver award, among others. Jones received recognition for providing invaluable assistance and working undercover with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force for nine years. Jones also assisted with Black College Reunion events on several occasions and received many thanks from Daytona Beach’s director of public safety.

Jones partnered with Target in 2008 and launched the annual Christmas with a Deputy program, when children from poorer families get to shop with a deputy, with money provided through grants or donations.
Jones single-handedly organized the event, which involves some 100 county law enforcement officers from across agencies and now nearly 100 children (up from 40 in earlier years).

“I started this program with my ownmoney. It was something I wanted to do because I grew up poor,” Jones said. “I wanted every child to have a present at Christmas and I hope to continue volunteering with this program.”

Jones, whose family members are buried at the Masonic Cemetery on Old Kings Road, has also been among the cemetery’s most vocal advocates, his voice helping to keep attention on the poorly kept grounds and helping to spur Palm Coast’s renovations of the grounds surrounding the cemetery when Old Kings was four-laned.

“None of us is irreplaceable, but Sergeant Jones comes close,” Manfre said. “His most significant achievement and I’m sure the one he would like to be known for is his commitment to his wife and family.”

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26 Responses for “Sgt. Larry Jones, One of Flagler Sheriff’s First Black Deputies, Retires After 30 Years”

  1. Ray Thorne says:

    Thank you for your service to our community Sergeant Jones.

  2. Will says:

    Well Done Sgt. Jones! Congratulations.

  3. confidential says:

    Thank You Sergeant Jones for your outstanding service to the community! Have a happy and enjoyable retirement in the company of your family for many years to come.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Larry Jones, one hell of a nice person and a great deputy. Enjoy your retirement!

    • Anonymous says:

      Larry is a great person. GOD bless you and your retirement, now go enjoy it before they send you off to the glue factory!!

  5. rick says:

    Sgt Jones is a great man, a great cop and his retirement is more than deserved.

  6. w.ryan says:

    Best wishes to you Larry. You are a great humanitarian and a beloved Officer of the Law.

  7. al maiolatesi says:

    One of the best guys I’ve ever known. Dedicated professional and very personable. I’m sure he’ll be missed in the dept. but he’s earned this. Enjoy your retirement my friend.

  8. Brian Larson says:

    Congrats Larry , you`ve always been a friend, and an outstanding police officer, hope to see you around , drive the Monte more often I`d like to see what you`ve done to it , was my first car here in Fl , bought it from Patsy near the airport, enjoy it and retirement, stay safe , say hi to Mark for me , haven`t seen him since Craig Wall screwed me out of Sea Ray job, so glad I went to all that school for them just so that moron could fire me cause my father in law couldn`t put up with his nonsense anymore, Karma will get all them redneck snakes in that company. GOOD LUCK!!!

  9. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    Congratulations on your retirement and your service in protecting the residents of Flagler County over the years..

    I will remember our numerous. by chance meetings and our discussions . I remember one was where your proud son was present’

    Thanks again for also making Flagler County a better place for many of it’s youth to have a true Merry Christmas.

    I proudly salute you..

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Larry! You’re definitely a man worthy of honorable mention. I’ve never met a man other than my father who holds such pride in keeping his word and commitment to serving others. You are blessed to be a blessing and that’s what you’ve consistently been to this community. To whom much is given MUCH IS REQUIRED. You maybe retired but you’re not done. God be with you and your beautiful family.

  11. Betty Hall says:

    Officer Jones we want to congratulate u and thank u for serving and protecting our community and for being a wonderful friend ! Good luck and enjoy ! U deserve it ! Love , Ronnie ,Betty & Mercedes Hall

  12. Mike says:

    Congrats Sgt., I’m glad to see someone leave the S.O. on their own terms, which I hope this was! Time to relax!

  13. Jim says:

    Congrats!!! Larry… no go ENJOY it…God knows you’ve earned it!!!

  14. Kendall says:

    Have a great retirement Sgt. Jones!

  15. Usnret says:

    Congratulations SGT Jones, enjoy your well earned retirement.

  16. Seminole Pride says:

    Congrats Larry ! Hope to see you at the football games on Friday night’s FPC games as a fan now.

  17. James says:

    Great officer, Great gentleman.

  18. hello says:

    Thank you for making a difference. Who will take your place. We can only pray that someone else will have God in their life and make a difference the way you did. GOD bless and keep on keepin on. You’ve touched alot of people. KEEP MAKING A DIFFERENCE. GOD BLESS.

  19. AMOS says:

    I Had The Pleasure of Working With Larry in 1985-1988 Until I Left Flagler & Went To Volusia County. Congrats Larry,If You Get “BORED” FOOD FOR THOUGHT, RUN FOR “SHERIFF” !! & Bring JOHN DANCE ALONG WITH! TALK ABOUT THE “DYNAMIC DUO” A FULL HOUSE OF “REALTOR’S” COULDN’T BEAT THAT “PAIR” !!!! GOOD LUCK REGARDLESS,IT WAS A PLEASURE WORKING WITH YOU !!!!

  20. M & M White says:

    Sgt. Larry Jones is a good man and has been an asset to this county. Job well done! You are respected and appreciated. Thanks for your service.

  21. Shelia says:

    Congratulations Sgt. Jones! You are a true role model for this community.

  22. L.J.Ruggieri says:

    Larry Jones for Sheriff in 2016 !

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Larry has done some great things for the kids in this community. Its a shame Manfre kicked him off of the PAL Board because he thinks Larry will be running for Sheriff.

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