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Ex-Flagler Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Pielarz Was Fired for “Arrogance” Before Arrest on Strangulation Charge

| February 27, 2016

patrick pielarz

Patrick Pielarz was among a class of 13 Flagler County Sheriff’s recruits last September. He was fired in late January.

Last Updated: Feb. 27, 3 p.m.

Five months ago Patrick Pielarz was among 13 new recruits Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre swore in as deputies. Pielarz, 20, had previously been a Sheriff’s Office Explorer.

Four weeks ago he was fired. “He did not make it through our field training program,” a sheriff’s spokesman said. A review of documents relating to his dismissal point to a pattern of arrogance and abuse of authority that persisted even his supervisors repeatedly counseled him. (See the original documents, including the arrest report, below.)

On Thursday, Pielarz was arrested on a felony battery by strangulation charge following an altercation with his live-in 22-year-old girlfriend in Bunnell.

His troubles at the sheriff’s office began soon after he was sworn in.

In early December, training officers at the sheriff’s office felt compelled to formally counsel Pielarz and “set expectations,” according to a Dec. 9 memo from Comdr. Paul Bovino. “The meeting was to discuss several deficiencies that were identified in his DOR’s and also the fact that several [Field Training Officers] were concerned about his acceptance of feedback. I was told by the FTOs that his attitude toward their evaluations was poor and that he was failing to respond to some of their training techniques.” Bovino himself, along with other officers, spoke with Pielarz about his issues. Pielarz said he’d understood the expectations and told Bovino he’d “focus on improving the areas of concern.” No further action was taken at the time.

Matters did not improve.

In late January, a manager at Palm Pointe, the housing complex where Pielarz was moving in with his girlfriend, wrote a formal complaint to the sheriff’s office about Pielarz. She described him asking about security, then pulling out his badge and say that he knew “all the calls that come through here.” The manager noted that Pielarz “seemed a bit arrogant,” then began asking if there were “discounts” for officers who live on the property–an inappropriate question that implies a request for favors, and an abuse of authority. He then went on to ask for three parking spaces–one for his car, one for his girlfriend’s, and one for his patrol car. He suggested, chuckling, that no one would “bother” with his police car, only to be told that, “police or not,” his vehicles would be towed if parked in inappropriate spots. “He asked a few more questions then left in a bit of a pushy way,” the manager said.

In a subsequent report to Bovino, a deputy explained that the property manager had been so concerned by Pielarz’s behavior that she’d been “thankful her husband was nearby to assist her if need be.”

A week later the property manager filed yet another complaint, this one stating that several residents at the complex had been “concerned and afraid to say anything to [Pielarz] because he has flashed his badge and told people he is an officer, so they don’t want him to come after them.” By then, Pielarz’s car had had to be towed for parking in other residents’ spots.

In mid-January, deputy Nate Smith wrote Bovino that Pielarz’s training was not improving, with “numerous deficiencies” observed in a certain phase of his training. His skills at writing reports were lacking. He would leave out important parts of narratives in his reports. He was often late turning them in, causing overtime issues. And, Smith reported, it became “painfully evident” that Pielarz had a personal hygiene issue that would affect his personal image “and can definitely be a barrier when communicating with other agency members and the public.” The report concluded with concerns that extending the training phase may not be sufficient as Pielarz’s response had been inconsistent.

Ten days later, Senior Cmdr. Stephen Cole wrote Chief Deputy Jeff Hoffman to recommend that Pielarz be “relieved from his position” for failing to successfully complete the probationary period. His remedial training had led to no improvements, and Cole referred to the incident at the housing complex as a serious lapse, where he had appeared to the manager as if he were trying to gain “some type of monetary gain due to his political position.”

It appeared that the manager’s complaint had not been the only such report. “The behavior described by this complainant,” Cole wrote, “is consistent with other feedback from the FTO’s as Deputy Pielarz being arrogant, unprofessional, and [displaying] an inability of properly talking to the public.”

He was soon fired.

According to the account his girlfriend gave police in Pielarz’s arrest report, he had received an “inappropriate” text from another woman, prompting his girlfriend to say, “I hate you.” Pielarz, who had been drinking vodka and been sleeping, then jumped out of bed, followed her to the bathroom, allegedly placed his hands around her neck and said: “What did you say to me?” The alleged victim said “she had her back against the towel rod and Mr. Pielarz reached both of his hands around her, grabbed the towel rod, and broke it from its supports.”

When the woman tried to leave, she said he took her phone and purse and pushed her onto the couch. The woman said she “screamed for help and Mr. Pielarz stated he was going to kill himself.” He then left the apartment at 4600 East Moody Boulevard, got on his motorcycle, sped through the parking lot, then returned to offer his apologies to his girlfriend. (The couple had been dating since November and been living together since January.)

In Pielarz’s account to deputies, he had been sleeping on his bed when “he awoke to what he believed to be the dog,” according to the arrest report. He “pushed the dog away but in fact it was his girlfriend.” He said he’d received the text message that had upset her, so he decided to leave the apartment with his dog but his girlfriend continued to argue with him, following him to his motorcycle, where a Bunnell Police Department officer ended the confrontation. The officer noted lacerations to Pielarz’s right hand, which Pielarz attributed to the towel rod.

He faces one count of domestic battery by strangulation, a third-degree felony. As of this morning, his booking was not appearing in the sheriff’s jail website, though he was booked there late Thursday night or early Friday morning. Court papers indicate he was placed under the supervision of pre-trial services and issued a no-contact order regarding his girlfriend. His felony arraignment is set for March 28 before Circuit Judge Matthew Foxman.

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33 Responses for “Ex-Flagler Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Pielarz Was Fired for “Arrogance” Before Arrest on Strangulation Charge”

  1. MarkingTheDays says:

    Hey Manfre, where’s his mugshot? You don’t have to cover it up, he’s no longer a deputy.

  2. Watchdog says:

    Well at least something was detected in his personality that caused him to be released by the Sheriff’s Office. Hats off to those that made that decision.

  3. Retired says:

    To bad. The kid has had a tough life.

  4. Another wow moment says:

    Another great hire by the team manfre. Thought manfre said during the last election that this would not happen under his administration. It’s called screening BEFORE you hire. That way you save our tax dollars.

  5. Don't Drink Alcohol says:

    In my 70 years of life I have SEEN first hand the alcohol addiction in police officers is over 79%. The violence and alcohol go hand in hand. As Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson use to sing..” Momma’s don’t let your babies grow up to be alcoholics ” !!!

  6. Time for some serious change says:

    Manfre has so many kids on the force that we can’t feel like they are experienced and know what they are doing to give us confidence we are in good hands. Manfre either fired most all the men or they left on their own. I hope our next Sheriff will bring back the moral in the department and restore our confidence in local law enforcement.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Guy is on a sick power and control trip. Kudos to Manfre’s office for picking up on his personality issues.

  8. Backgrounds don't reveal everything says:

    This guy was just too young to be a deputy.

  9. Barry Hartmann says:

    I am not a Manfre fan, however, the system worked and he was dropped from the force. Let’s leave it at that. The job is not for everyone !

  10. The next guy says:

    He was drunk, and underage… No mugshot , nothing. If everyone else gets exploited with a mugshot, what makes him better then the next ?

  11. confidential says:

    @ Time for s c….
    I live in Palm Coast since 1991 and let me tell you all that the best responses and calls and patrolling in our neighborhood has been always while Manfre was a Sheriff and this is the only thing I care, our safety.
    Thru out all these years under other sheriff we waited forever for a deputy to show up after a occasional call. Under Fleming, they will not book an 18 year old holding often drinking and dope parties in his house for minors on his father permanent absence. Will not book also an aggressive man cussing out loud for adults and children to enjoy and life threatening and even shutting the water utility of the adjacent houses for years and finally that was resolved by Manfre’s deputies after he took office. Was also resolved in the C section the famous pink crack house for good.
    I remember one of Fleming’s supervisors suggesting that if he was in my place would be moving away. To what I replied that was not what we pay taxes for law enforcement ! Now our neighborhood is back peaceful and safe and I am still here. In spite of Manfre alleged ethics errors, the ones that preceded him had much worse with less fanfare. No one exempted..I only care about the good service Manfre provides not his party affiliation etc. etc.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am friends with his girlfriend on Facebook. She made a post about how this is completely “exaggerated and inaccurate.” I will wait for actual proof of arrest.

  13. Geezer says:

    Well there’s one loose cannon that needs to be secured to his moorings.
    (assuming that there’s moorings)
    Really now — how manly of him to choke a woman. He should try that with
    a big man and see how that goes… Real men don’t assault women.
    This dude needs to pull that on Ronda Rousey.

    That would be funny!

  14. BIG JOHN says:

    Too young to be a deputy….maybe he was also too young to be living with his girlfriend.
    They both sound immature and too emotional. He, for his awkward attempt to discipline her when he was in the wrong; she, for her calling the cops in the heat of passionate anger. Who knows what’s really at play here. It sounds like two young people who both have hostility issues. Either way, it’s probably better that he doesn’t get to drive around in a squad car armed and dangerous. I hope they both get the help they need. I also hope that she will see the light and drop the felony charges against her idiot boyfriend. Hopefully, he will learn from this and grow up to be a good man. Let us pray for that.

  15. yankee says:

    dating since november, living together since january.

    yeah, that seems like a good idea.

  16. Woody says:

    He would fill Manfre”s shoes quite well.Patrick Pielarz for sheriff.Both were never cops.

  17. Scott says:

    Last continue to hire young kids that aren’t even grown up .I dislike young cops that think they r everything just because of there weapon and the ability to arrest people and decide on who they ticket and not.Please no more young bucks!!!!!

  18. Rich says:

    Drinking alcohol under age 21? Nice example.

  19. Retired Law Dog says:

    Got him in the nick of time, could be worse, but how did he make it through the psychological/interview phase? Does Flagler even have one? He looks like a little punk that would shrink away from a fight without a gun and badge. Anybody he ever arrested by this a hole just has to call on the Brady Letter rule, bring his career into question. In Volusia County outgoing Sheriff rehired a deputy who was driving drunk with her daughter in the squad car, videoed swerving all over. Anybody arrested by her now just has to pull the brady card, and get off scot free. Or the NSB Deputy Chief who lied on her application, and never even finished High School, another brady card. I support Law Enforcement one hundred percent, but here in Florida it’s too political in the hires, of course political is something Manfre knows about, wasn’t he run out up North for playing cop when he was just a second tier attorney? Yet you elected him, enjoy voters!

  20. Outsider says:

    I guess when you fire all the people that know what they are doing and develop a reputation, this is all you can attract.

  21. Outsider says:

    I’m also friends with his girlfriend on Facebook, she did say something along the lines of the media was “completely exaggerated and inaccurate”. She also never pressed any charges, she didn’t even want him to go as far as I was told. Seems like Bunnell and Flagler took it into their own hands to try and get a good story even though this isn’t what happened. Don’t judge until you see what the outcome is, they are both great people and made a stupid mistake. I’ve never seen two people more in love than them and it sickens me to see people who don’t know the real story making them look bad. We should be praying that they both get out of this and move on with their lives. Stay strong Pat and Ashley.

  22. PC Outlaw says:



    The dude with all the wrecked patrol cars will be the next one on the chopping block.

  24. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Says–That is exactly why Domestic Abusers are prosecuted whether the partner who was abused wishes to press charges or not. These abusers know their targets…and their narcissism often leads them to associate with weak and vulnerable targets because it gives them the opportunity to pull their power and control trips and bully at will. Having a badge would give a sicko like this one a built-in advantage in that regard.

  25. BIG JOHN says:

    I wonder how such a young man could think about abusing his badge so quickly.
    Who raised him? What kind of family background leads a 20 year-old to ask for favors.
    I am sure that wasn’t a part of his training. The arrogance and sense of entitlement that is rampant among the so-called millennial generation is a cause for concern. Also, a lack of hygiene, phew! What a stinker!

  26. Rich Mikola says:

    Do we really have to turn this column into a political endorsement for your chosen candidate?

  27. Bob C says:

    @BigJohn Yes they both sound too immature but to say he was wrong for awkwardly trying to ‘discipline’ her when he was in the wrong? So what your saying is choking is a acceptable from of discipline and if was in the right it would be ok to choke her? Also I don’t see her in error for calling the cops in the heat of passionate anger, most domestic murders are in passionate anger with someone drinking or drunk. Remember this guy does have a gun in the house.

    I also do not recommend dropping the charges as this young man has above and beyond arrogance and anger issues that if this was dismissed he would definitely not learn any lesson. He needs a felony wrap and never allowed to carry a firearm again.

  28. Old friend says:

    Too bad. Gorgeous girl too, inside and out. I know more than one guy who would marry her to this day but I could see where she would be a vulnerable victim she is too sweet doesn’t know how to say no. Seems like this guy is too okay with saying no. Not being ready to be a cop doesnt mean he deserved this and isnt a good person. she obviously stayed with him after he got fired for a reason most girls would up and leave especially one who is going on to be a doctor. Didnt know the guy but always enjoyed seeing pics of them because they seemed happy & in love. This is probably destroying her too nobody else is feeling the effects of it is seems. Probably the reason she is defending him to the bone on social media. Not ready to be a cop doesn’t mean he deserves this and she knows better than anyone I presume. Good luck you two its going to be a tough life after this unfortunately.

  29. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot says:

    I’m seriously baffled by the comment alleging the assault and battery aka domestic violence in this scenario was downplayed to the extent of a male failing to discipline his love-in girlfriend in a more appropriate manner. I literally thought I was in the 1950s reading that comment…

    This society is so screwed up. No wonder Western Europeans are laughing at us. And this kid is no doubt a part of a growing population of adult males led to believe they are in control of everything.. Including other people.

    We don’t have a sheriff problem – we have a people problem

  30. Bc says:

    Hey kid don’t let this get you down to much we all mess up in our lives. It’s about getting back up and moving forward. Look some guys mature faster than others so get your s–t together and prove all the negative folks on this site wrong. If you want to be a cop again go for it you can do or be whoever you want to you have youth on you side. So let this roll off your back learn from this prove them all wrong grab the bull by the ass go get your life and career back on track good luck to you a word to the wise keep your hands off your girl friend or any woman real men don’t strike woman.

  31. Sherry says:

    This “very troubled” young man is precisely the kind of person who should NOT qualify for owning any kind of lethal weapon. He obviously needs extensive counseling. So does anyone. . . yes, I’m speaking to you Big John. . . who thinks that ANY woman should be “disciplined” by ANYONE, other than her parents when she was a girl.

    I agree, it’s not a sheriff problem. . . it’s a people and society problem. . . especially regarding the very limited access to treatment for mental illness, for young men like Patrick, for women who allow and excuse abuse, and for the Big John’s of this world who do not fully understand that abuse and think of it as some sort of “discipline”.

  32. BIG JOHN says:

    The use of the word “discipline” was a poor choice of words on my part and in no way was it meant to condone the right of a man to discipline a woman. Thank you for pointing that out to me and to all the other readers.

  33. Sherry says:

    Thanks, Big John. . . now, that’s how “real men” own up to their mistakes.

    It’s just too bad some of our Presidential candidates haven’t followed your fine example. . . instead of “doubling down” again and again on their offensive rhetoric.

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