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Sheriff’s Office Swears In 8 New Recruits, This Time With More Than Token Minorities

| March 3, 2016

From left, Sheriff Jim  Manfre, Brad Stogdon, Leland Dawson, William Cochran, Sarah Casey, Marcus Dawson, Eric Josey, Grant Taylor and Domain Thomas.

From left, Sheriff Jim Manfre, Brad Stogdon, Leland Dawson, William Cochran, Sarah Casey, Marcus Dawson, Eric Josey, Grant Taylor and Domain Thomas.

Eight new deputies were sworn in at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday in a ceremony headed by Sheriff Jim Manfre, the second time in five months that the department has welcomed a significant class of new recruits. In late September, 13 young deputies were sworn in, though not all made it, and attrition has continued: the 21 recruits hired in the past five months represent 11 percent of the force.

In September, the new recruits had added up to a force of 191 road patrol and corrections deputies. Wednesday’s new recruits add up to a total of 192 sworn officers (148 road deputies and 44 detention deputies), signifying that between September and March, the department lost a dozen deputies to retirement, to deputies not making it through their probationary period, or to other causes. Among the 13 sworn in last fall, two were fired, one resigned, and the rest are still going through their one-year probationary period.

Another distinction of the latest class: when the sheriff’s office announced four new recruits in August 2014, all four were white. When it announced the 13 new recruits last fall, just one of them was black. Wednesday, three of the new recruits were black, a rare boost for a perennially less-than-represented minority on the force.

Wednesday’s recruits have brought the sheriff’s department’s proportion of black deputies–on road patrol and at the jail–to 10 percent, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said, up from 8 percent last year. Flagler County is 11.5 percent black. Nationally, 12 percent of police forces are black, and 27 percent are minorities.

The new class of seven men and one woman will all serve as deputies on road patrol in the Neighborhood Services Division.

A release issued by the sheriff’s office noted that Manfre performed the swearing-in ceremony as proud moms and dads, boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancees, and young children all watched. The sheriff told families and friends gathered that the new vision of law
enforcement officers is community policing, getting to know residents and listening to their concerns. “I’m very confident that each one of these new deputies will embrace this new vision,’’ he said, describing the job as a vocation, “something you believe in your heart.”

And, the sheriff told those gathered that “we will keep your loved ones as safe as we can. I guarantee they will have the best training possible.’’

Such ceremonies tend to have side stories that lend a personal touch to what would otherwise be stories of new uniforms joining the ranks. Last fall the recruiting ceremony featured one new deputy, Daniel Malta, who was joining the force at the tail end of his father’s long career on the force: David Malta has been with the sheriff’s office about 30 years, while Malta’s grandfather, Jim Schweers, who also attended that ceremony, had retired from the sheriff’s office previously.

On Wednesday, Manfre noted that he’d known Leland Dawson, one of the new deputies, since 2000, when Dawson played baseball as an 8 year old on his son Alec’s team, the Mariners. Through that, the Manfre family got to know the Dawson family, whom the sheriff credits
with urging him to run for sheriff. Dawson, 25, follows the path of his father, Leland V. Dawson, who worked at the sheriff’s office from October 1998 to June 2003, ending his stint there when Manfre was nearing the end of his first stint as sheriff.

Wednesday’s ceremony kicks off the deputies’ careers with the sheriff’s office. The seven men and one woman had to complete more than 700 hours of basic recruit training at a law enforcement academy. But it’s not over. Now they will begin seven weeks of in-house classroom training with the Sheriff’s Office known as the Field Training Evaluation Program. It will include everything from training with firearms, camera systems, evidence collection, report writing, policies and DUI training to intensive crisis intervention training and more.

Then they go on the road for three months’ training with a field training officer before they will work on their own as they complete their probationary period of one year. It’s far from a given that a year from now, all eight deputies sworn in Wednesday will still be on the force.

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18 Responses for “Sheriff’s Office Swears In 8 New Recruits, This Time With More Than Token Minorities”

  1. retired says:

    Congrats to all the new Deputies. Lee, I know your Mom and Dad must be very proud. Good luck to all and sayy SAFE!

  2. 30 year Cop says:

    I wish these new Deputies a long safe career. However, the turn-over rate at the Sheriff’s Office is way too high, and that causes us taxpayers way too much money.
    When Manfre and Staly took over 3 years ago, they did a mass firing, letting good people go that had “Institutional Knowledge”. They started this high turn-over rate and it continues on still. Yet Manfre and Staly want to be your Sheriff come 2017. It’s time for a new leader, one who has been a cop and answered the domestic calls, made traffic stops, responded to cries for help while proudly wearing the uniform, not an Attorney who can’t command the respect needed by the troops.
    Do we want to continue the Manfre/Staly ideals? Do we want to go back to the Don Fleming days?
    Let’s change direction this year by getting away from good ole boys.

  3. rst says:

    From one 30 year cop to another: well said!

  4. Just me says:

    Also should NOT all new hires on probation be paired with an experienced office for more then 3 months?? How about at least 6 months if not for the full year??

  5. Heading North says:

    Congratulations to all the new hires!
    As a 38 year veteran, I can offer some advice, keep your heads up, your eyes open, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of your instructors and your field training officers. Once out on your own, be mindful of your position in the community , and above all, never do or say anything to tarnish the badge so many of us wore so proudly.
    And to Deputy Leland Dawson, I knew your Dad, and he was a good officer and a good friend so give him my regards!!!
    Stay safe ladies and gentlemen!

  6. confidential says:

    Welcome to watch over us all in Palm Coast, Wish you success but also be safe!
    In my over 24 years as a Palm Coast resident I can tell you that you start working under Sheriff Manfre that has best served us, as far is my concern and party affiliations aside.

  7. Howard Duley says:

    If this force had 3000 cops on the road it would still be full of idiots driving around. Lets actually see these patrolmen doing something.

  8. Anonymous says:

    manfre out,all fired deputies he fired back in! and lets make flagler county great again!

  9. Anonymous says:

    We should not use a story such as this for political purposes. This is a proud moment for thes new deputies and their families. Let’s not take that away from them.

  10. beagles18 says:

    Smoke and mirrors! It is the political season

  11. Annoyed says:

    Perhaps they can put a few deputies in cars up at the Mantanza Construction mess.

  12. Vote Lamb in 2016 says:

    This is so scary and concerning. Reminds me of kids carrying guns in other countries….why all the kids and not more skilled men and women who possess skills, experience and maturity for younger persons to learn from? I’m sorry, this image does not allow me to feel safe! I can see a few young hires to partner with experienced staff, but time and time again this Sheriff has hired so many young persons for us later to read mishaps about our law enforcement in the local news.

  13. Shark says:

    I sure hope they did background checks on this crew !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. BIG JOHN says:

    I hope this new batch is better than the last one. I think that maybe there needs to be a real police academy instead of taking classes at Daytona State College. There should be more intensive psych screening and background checks on new recruits. Also, shouldn’t there be a minimum age of at least 21?


    Everyone concerned about their ages should do their research! A lot of these “young” new deputies have been in law enforcement before and are very well trained! Congrats to all!!!

  16. 50 year old grunt says:

    The minimum age IS 21 and a lot of these new deputies and deputies already on the road have advanced and qualified training.

  17. Linda Sparda says:

    Good luck to all new deputies. Wish you
    Much success with the rest of your training. Im also happy to hear that minorities are being hired.

  18. April says:

    Instead of being negative how about being greatful that these people wish to serve you and protect you so you can go enjoy your days. Thats my fiance in that picture, a man that may not come home one day because hes out risking his life everyday, and yes thats exactly what cops do, they never know who they are approaching. So I for one would like to say thankyou to all of the officers above for making a sacrifice, for so little back.

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