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Jim Manfre, Flagler County Sheriff Candidate: The Live Interview

| July 14, 2016

sheriff jim manfre live interview

Incumbent Sheriff Jim Manfre is running for a third term. His first two were interrupted by an eight-year interval, when Don Fleming was sheriff. (© FlaglerLive)

Jim Manfre is the incumbent candidate for Flagler County Sheriff. He faces one opponent in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary, Larry Jones, who retired in 2014 from the sheriff’s office as a sergeant. The winner of that primary will face the winner of a Republican primary featuring six candidates, plus one independent candidate who will also appear on the Nov. 8, general election ballot, Thomas Dougherty. Dougherty is running a self-funded and not very visible campaign.


The Aug. 30 vote is a closed primary: only registered Democrats may vote for the Democratic candidate of their choice, only registered Republicans may vote for the Republican candidate of their choice. Independents and voters registered with minor parties do not get a vote in this particular race until the Nov. 8 general election. Independent voters do get to vote in several other local races that are non-partisan or that will be the equivalent of a general election, including school board, Palm Coast City Council and supervisor of elections.

Of the nine candidates for sheriff, only two, Manfre and Don Fleming, have won elections before. The sheriff’s office has been led by one or the other for the past 16 years, starting with Manfre from 2001 to 2004, then Fleming for eight years, then Manfre again starting in 2013. (See his Live Interview from the 2012 race here.) The race has drawn the most candidates for any single local office, and generated the most expensive campaigns, with total fund-raising (and loans from candidates to themselves) exceeding $200,000 between them, as of mid-July.

The sheriff is paid $126,123 a year. The salary is set by the state based on the county’s population, but paid out of local dollars. The winner will serve a four-year term, controlling a current budget of $25 million, 255 full-time employees and 30 part-time employees.

FlaglerLive submitted identical questions to all candidates, with the understanding that additional questions might be tailored to candidates individually and some follow-up questions may be asked, with all exchanges on the record. The Live Interview’s aim is to elicit as much candor and transparency as possible. We have asked candidates to refrain from making campaign speeches or make lists of accomplishments. We have also asked candidates to reasonably document any claim or accusation. Undocumented claims are edited out. Answers are also edited for length, redundancy, relevance and, where possible, accuracy. If a candidate does not answer a question or appears to be evading a question, that’s noted.

But it’s ultimately up to the reader to judge the quality and sincerity of a candidate’s answers.

The Questions in Summary: Quick Links

The Basics:

Place and Date of Birth: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Current job: Sheriff of Flagler County.
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Net Worth: $401,000. (See the financial disclosure.)
Resume: not submitted.
Website: jamesmanfre.com

1. What qualifies you to be the sheriff?

I have lived and worked in this county for 20 years. All three of my children have been educated in our Flagler school system and have gone on to do extraordinary things. My wife Cornelia of 32 years has been a prominent real-estate broker in Flagler County for 17 years. I have had extensive experience in serving this community as a volunteer to include being a past president of the Flagler County Rotary Club and member for fifteen years. I have also practiced law in this community for eight years. Most importantly to your readers, I have had eight successful years as the Sheriff of Flagler County and I am the only candidate that has completed the FBI Executive Development Seminar.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

2016 Election Interviews

Supervisor of Elections


Kaiti Lenhart
Kimble Medley
Abra Seay

Sheriff


Jim Manfre (D)
Don Fleming (R)
Larry Jones (D)
John Lamb (R)
Jerry O'Gara(R)
Rick Staly (R)
Mark Whisenant (R)
Chris Yates (R)
Thomas Dougherty (I)

Palm Coast City Council


Robert Cuff (Dist. 1)
Troy DuBose (Dist. 1)
Sims Jones (Dist. 1)
Art McGovern Jr. (Dist. 1)
Nick Klufas (Dist. 3)
Anita Moeder (Dist. 3)
Pam Richardson (Dist. 3)
John Brady (Mayor)
Milissa Holland (Mayor)
Dennis McDonald (Mayor)
Ron Radford (Mayor)

Flagler School Board


Colleen Conklin (Dist. 3)
Jason Sands (Dist. 3)
Paul Anderson (Dist. 5)
Maria Barbosa (Dist. 5)
Sharon Demers (Dist. 5)
Myra Middleton-Valentine (Dist. 5)

Flagler County Commission


Charlie Ericksen (Dist. 1)
Ken Mazzie (Dist. 1)
Daniel Potter (Dist. 1)
Jason France (Dist. 3)
Dave Sullivan (Dist. 3)
Denise Calderwood (Dis. 5)
Donald O'Brien (Dist. 5)

2. Describe your character and temperament, and what people you’ve worked with—or citizens you’ve interacted with—would say are your most serious personal flaws, in so far as how they affect your job. What do you do to address those flaws?

I have a deep belief in the value of public service and its inherent benefit to the community. My life is based on my faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and the New Testament scriptures. I have spent a lifetime taking on the serious problems of the communities I have lived and in trying to find answers to them. My flaw is my intolerance of racial, gender and sexual orientation bias in the application of our laws and our justice system. This sometimes makes me sound like I am being moralistic, when in fact I am trying to find a better way. As for my temperament, it is demanding the highest standards of behavior of myself and of those whom I employ. Part of my personality and training as a lawyer and prosecutor, as well as Sheriff is to challenge ideas, both good and bad in a Socratic method. This may at times make me appear argumentative and lead to bruised feelings, but is an attempt to find the kernel of truth in any idea.

It is unusual to see intolerance for bias interpreted as a flaw, though many a candidate, to avoid answering the question candidly, tries to answer this question by coloring as flaws what most people see as qualities. It’s equally remarkable to not see you address what, because of your eight years in the public eye,  has been painfully clear to many of us: your reluctance to admit error, your misjudgments about personal conduct mixing with official duty, and a skin remarkably thin for a public official in as powerful a position as sheriff. Any of those flaws have affected your job, morale at the agency, and the public’s perception of their sheriff. Could you tell us what you have done to address those flaws–or if we have a wrong perception?

I believe you have a wrong perception. I have taken personal responsibility for things which I could have done better and will continue to do so. I have always replied consistently and quickly over my eight years as sheriff to all questions from the public, FlaglerLive, the Palm Coast Observer, the Daytona Beach News Journal and all of the media regardless of the difficulty of the question or situation at hand.  I am human and like any other person, I do have flaws and as I have said initially in my first response, I may appear argumentative when challenged, but I am only attempting to find the truth in any idea. However, I am open minded and do evaluate all of my actions in order to ensure I am providing the best leadership to my agency and community. When I see that I need to change, I have made those changes.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

3. What is the most dangerous thing or temptation about a sheriff’s power, and how do you intend to control it?

The temptation by anyone in a position of authority is to benefit yourself and your family to the detriment of the agency and community.  The solution to this is to maintain a personal perception of yourself as a facilitator for the common good.  I have always considered myself as Jim Manfre who has had the honor of being the  Flagler County Sheriff and not Sheriff Jim Manfre.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

4. Raising morale and pay aside, what are your three priorities as sheriff that will directly affect the public and visibly improve public safety?

First, because of the new detention facility, we are now able to move forward with obtaining for the first time in agency history accreditation for the detention facility. This will complete the accreditation efforts in our three major divisions under my tenure. It will also highlight the high levels of professionalism that has been brought to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Second, in collaboration with the county and other related partners, I would like to discuss the construction of a halfway house in and around the detention facility for those inmates cycling in and out of the detention facility.  It would be utilized to reintegrate inmates back into the community and reduce our recidivism rate. Finally, again in collaboration with all first responders in Flagler County, we need to immediately address the issue of the aging 800 MHz radio system we all use on a daily basis.  The system is at the end of its useful life and must be upgraded to state and federal standards.  This is a major concern for me and a safety issue for our communications division which dispatches all first responders in the county.

Could the old sheriff’s operations center not at least in part double up as a halfway house? Where would the funding come from for that, when the county has been unable to even discuss the possibility of a homeless shelter? Do you consider the county government’s schedule for the replacement of the 800 MHz system inadequate?

Unfortunately it cannot be used.  All aspects of the current facility are being used for video visitation, the back-up communications center and detention administrative functions. I would think the funding for a halfway house should come from a grant application from the county similar to the mental health diversion program and CTTU program (Baker initiative). It’s time for us to tackle this issue and I pledge to work with the county commission on this much needed project.

Regarding the 800 MHz system, yes. My problem is the schedule is not comprehensive, it does not take into account all of the input from our first responder partners and is not being replaced quickly enough as it is no longer going be supported by the manufacturer after 2017.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

5. Give us your geographically precise and documented summary of where you see the county’s and Palm Coast’s greatest law enforcement needs, how those needs compare with the way personnel is currently assigned, and what you would do differently, if anything.

When I took office for the second time in 2013 as your Sheriff, the county was divided into a north and south region, each staffed with a lieutenant, sergeant and corporal. This led to a 2-1 ratio of supervisors to line deputies where we had six supervisors to 12 road deputies. We have merged those two and now have a sergeant and two corporals for 16 road deputies. We also have one commander for each, thus reducing the ratio to 4-1.  Clearly, with the 30 percent increase of calls for service over the past four years, there is a demand for increased law enforcement personnel. The national average is 2.1 deputies per thousand.  Putnam County is at 2.19 per thousand.  Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is at 1.24 per 1,000 (this does not include Bunnell-3.13 and Flagler Beach-3.33).  This is a deficit that must be corrected. Crime is relatively consistent in the unincorporated county and in Palm Coast. On a daily basis, we track our crime trends and allocate resources to address those needs.  On a weekly basis, our command staff and our law enforcement partners meet with our crime analyst at our Comstat meeting and discuss our efforts to combat crime.  It is through this meeting that I hold my commanders responsible for crime in our service areas. This effort has obviously been successful based on our lowering of the crime rate over three years and the fact that the crime rate is at a 15 year low.  Our murder, robbery and burglary rates are about the same as they were 15 years ago when we had less than half of the population.   As a proven and effective law enforcement leader, I will continue to evaluate trends and will make the necessary adjustments to keep up with the ever-changing crime trends.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

6. Putting aside ethical issues that have affected the current and previous sheriff—and that have been amply treated in the press and elsewhere—what are three community-related issues the sheriff has handled well, and three that he’s handled poorly.

The first is the implementation of agency-wide Community Oriented Policing back into the agency.  This philosophy emphasizes relationships with the community through the use of neighborhood watches, contact with patrol deputies with the public they serve in their zones, and community outreach and prevention programs such as the PAL, women’s self-defense classes, and the One Common Ground discussions.  It also requires the meeting with community advisers, church and political leaders, as well as school officials on critical issues.

Following racial tensions that developed nationwide in Ferguson, Baltimore and Charleston, as well as the issue of the confederate battle flag being displayed on vehicles driven through several minority communities prior to the opening of 2015 Flagler County school year, we quickly initiated a One Common Ground discussion group with our local church leaders, sheriff’s chaplains, law enforcement and the school system to establish an open line of communication and information sharing.  These meetings have resulted in our group meeting with students at both of our local high schools in order to teach them about law enforcement, as well as listening to their concerns. In monitoring the racial issues nationwide, I instituted emergency management training and worked hand in hand with the chiefs of Bunnell and Flagler Beach to ensure all of our officers were provided with training and equipment.

The final point was recognizing the mass shooting events that occurred nationwide. We identified the need to have a full active shooter training for all first responders in Flagler County.  With the assistance of former Flagler County Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie, School Superintendent Jacob Oliva, our fire chiefs, Florida Hospital Flagler, our municipalities, as well as a host of assisting agencies, we implemented active shooter training at Flagler Palm Coast High School in 2015. The training was a success and a great example of collaboration.  It also allowed us to identify infrastructure and training needs that we have all been working on since.

I recognize that there are always things we could have done better and we are constantly attentive to the needs of our community and the changing demands on law enforcement.

You addressed the positive sides of your administration effectively, though the active-shooter exercise was largely the work of the former county emergency manager, but left unspoken three examples of where you as sheriff handled matters less well. For the third-largest public agency in the county (after the school district and Palm Coast), it’s difficult to imagine there are no such examples, starting with your wholesale reorganization, demotions and firings on Day One: Is that one of the things you could have done better? Are there other specific examples that could signal to the community that a second Manfre term (or rather, third) acknowledges mistakes and improves on them?

The active shooter exercise was not the work of one person, but rather a collaborative effort by the FCSO, Flagler County, the school board and our public safety partners.  As far the re-organization, it resulted in only two terminations and three demotions. The re-organization resulted in the elimination of eight upper management positions that resulted in the hiring of sixteen additional deputies. This is a direct effect of my business approach to make government run more efficiently.

As I have stated, and continue to state, I have made mistakes and will continue to address those in order to make the operation of the FCSO the best it can be. The specific examples that I can provide are the accomplishments we have been able to make and continue to make.  Accreditation, reduction of crime, streamlining of process and our transparency with the community.  Just to name a few.  Let’s get to the point and offer you my last example.  Ultimately, as I have said during the ethics process, I am the sheriff and I do take responsibility for all of my actions. When I realized there was an issue with our credit card use, I immediately had policies put into place to ensure that this could never happen again. In fact, due to the state of things I inherited when I took office, we worked on every policy to ensure we were in compliance with industry and accreditation standards.

I am constantly looking for better ways to operate the agency in a more transparent efficient and professional manner.  Clearly, the accreditation comments made by the assessors in October of 2015 show we are well underway to institutionalize those ideas. We are all human and I strive to better myself and our agency on a daily basis.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

7. Turnover has been steep. The average years of experience of deputies on the street has fallen, exposing the public to generally younger, possibly more gung-ho but less seasoned deputies. To what do you attribute the turnover, and what specific steps will you take to reduce turn-over and add experience to our streets?

We completely reject the premise that there is an unusual turnover of employees.  Our turnover rate is consistent with the former Sheriff’s and other communities. The pressure in particular that this agency was facing was the failure to raise salaries for five years making us less competitive than surrounding agencies. The step plan I implemented in my first term had been destroyed under the former administration by creating a wide salary disparity between upper management and line level deputies. In addition, the seniority and merit incentives were eliminated by the former administration. Furthermore, as the economy improved, employees who came into law enforcement for job security and not a career began to seek private sector employment opportunities.

This dilemma has been a consistent issue for all law enforcement agencies throughout the country. In our recruitment process, we have been successful in hiring experienced personnel either with prior law enforcement or military experience. We have also and continue to successfully recruit members from other agencies. This is due to the good reputation of the FCSO.

As previously noted, we have also substantially increased and improved our training and have raised our standards not only in recruiting, but accountability. To reduce turnover, I have implemented a merit based step plan that rewards seniority and merit that is evaluated annually through performance evaluations. There has been an overall 9.5 percent increase in employee salaries since I have taken office which has stabilized our departures and has led to an increased interest from  law enforcement officers from other agencies.

Through creating a state of the art operations center and detention facility, we have created a better working atmosphere for our employees. Also, we have added new vehicles, advanced equipment, a CSI unit and armed our deputies with adequate firepower to allow them to protect themselves and our community.  Finally, through the meetings with my advisory committees, I have been able to hear firsthand of issues and so I have been able to quickly address them.

Are you at all concerned by the lower average age of deputies on the streets, and their reduced years of experience? Much of the credit for the success stories behind the next question goes to long-time veterans whose skills ensured public safety in the most tense encounters. But some of those veterans are gone. Is that not a recipe for trouble?

I disagree that there is a lower age of deputies on the streets.  We have recruited many experienced deputies who have either prior law enforcement or military experience.  We are not any different than any other law enforcement agency as it pertains to the hiring of new employees.  At the end of the day, regardless of their age, it comes down to the training of the new employees and the re-training of our present employees.  As I have previously indicated, we have given 2.5 times the amount of training to all of our deputies as is required by law.  To go back to question number six, to ensure we were hiring the best qualified candidates, I felt our hiring practices needed to be evaluated and we did just that to ensure we had the best practice in place.  We made changes and improved the process.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

8. Since Sheriff Manfre took over, not a single individual has been killed, shot, or shot at by a Flagler County deputy in Flagler County. (One individual shot himself in a stand-off with deputies in November 2013, and ex-Flagler deputy Daniel Ruddell was shot at last November as he attempted to flee from deputies, including Flagler deputies, in St. Johns County). But there were at least four documented instances of armed individuals who were peacefully apprehended after stand-offs or confrontations. That’s in contrast with numerous police shootings in Volusia and St. Johns over the same period, at a time when police have been under greater scrutiny because of such shootings. To what do you attribute the way Flagler deputies have bucked the trend, and what will you do to ensure that this, as opposed to a more violent, norm, continues?

We are well ahead of the curve when it comes to crisis intervention and de-escalation training for our employees.  This training has been provided through a cooperation with Stuart Marchman and our training unit.  Additionally, we have introduced less lethal weapons that include Tasers which were brought in during my first term and converted shotguns that shoot non-lethal rounds.  We cannot forget the courageous efforts of our deputies in using great restraint when instances where lethal force would have been clearly justified. I also believe this is attributed to the leadership I have created in the organization by dealing with critical issues that confront law enforcement and the community.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

9. Ta-Nehisi Coates tells his teen-age son, in his National Book Award-winning “Between the World and Me” (2015): “Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered. I think we would like to kill you ourselves before seeing you killed by the streets that America made. That is a philosophy of the disembodied, of a people who control nothing, who can protect nothing, who are made to fear not just the criminals among them but the police who lord over them with all the moral authority of a protection racket.” Is Coates wrong? Putting what Coates tells his son in the context of a county that was last to desegregate in Florida, and that still has an overwhelmingly white sheriff’s office, tell us how you’d reassure parents of young black men in this community.

Having read Mr. Coates’ book to gain an appreciation and understanding of a black man’s view of law enforcement and our American society, I believe that I have implemented programs to ensure that all individuals (minorities, all genders and sexual orientations) are treated in a fair and just manner. I believe law enforcement has to do more to break through the perception of the public, whatever it may be, that we see law enforcement as a partnership with our community.  Every organization is a reflection of the person at the top and I believe my overall view of race and general relations with the community has influenced the overall attitude of our law enforcement deputies.

I have been a member of the NAACP over 20 years, including serving as legal counsel to the organization over different periods of time. We have a strong commitment to minority and female recruiting and are completely without bias in evaluating potential candidates for employment. Our human resource director is a minority and so are two of his employees. Our staff attorney for the agency is also a minority. I have promoted the first black sergeant in over 25 years and have promoted the first female black commander in our detention facility. I have also promoted the first female sergeant in our patrol division history. In addition, as mentioned above, we have placed the same emphasis on prevention as we have on enforcement. One illustration of this is our PAL program that has over 1,000 participants who participate in basketball, football, leadership, mentorship and other areas of youth interest.

To Mr. Coates’ point, law enforcement and society need to be proactive in dealing with flash points of racial conflict and must try to create conditions where relationships can and will flourish.  We have done just this with the creation of our One Common Ground discussion group. Finally, I say directly to the parents and guardians of black men in our community you should have full faith and confidence that the top law enforcement officer in the county continually tries to understand your point of view and historical issues that confront you as members of our community.

But do blacks in Flagler County have reason to see policing as a “protection racket”?

I do not understand what you mean by this question.  Law enforcement is a well-respected part of the community and is an integral part of protecting our freedoms and safety.  This is regardless of your race, creed or color. I know many African-Americans are in fear and I have taken the steps to work collaboratively with many aspects of our community to keep our lines of communication open.  This is certainly evident in our One Common Ground initiative, our involvement with the NAACP, as well as the networking we have been able to do with many African-American churches. The event at the Mt. Calvary church Tuesday evening is just another example of our commitment to listen and evaluate how we as an agency react to members of our community.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

10. If you were to give a grade to the war on drugs as it’s been conducted since Nixon, what would that grade be, and why? Putting aside what the law is at the moment, do you think casual pot users—the occasional reefer smoker, the person caught with a few joints—should be criminally charged and jailed, as opposed to issued civil citations? What role should officer discretion play in criminally charging casual pot users?

I give a high grade to federal, state and local law enforcement in battling the influx of heroin, cocaine and synthetic hallucinogens that have come into our community.  The coordination between those three entities has significantly impacted the supply of illegal drugs. However, I would give a failing grade to federal, state and local authorities in creating treatment options for those addicted in our communities. We have been much delayed in providing prison diversion programs to those who are addicted. It is just now that government is accepting its responsibility to those who not only are using and selling drugs, but also accepting its responsibility to prevent re-offending in this area through treatment and diversion programs.

I am a supporter of the juvenile civil citation program that has been recently expanded by the Florida legislature.  This program allows for officer discretion in the issuance of a citation, rather than an arrest for certain crimes committed by youths under the age of 18. I have been one of the driving forces behind creating an adult civil citation program in our county.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

11. The Flagler County jail’s bed space has now more than doubled, though for the past decade, including the years of somewhat higher crime during the housing boom years, it served the county’s needs. Despite an increasing population, crime is not increasing apace. Diversionary programs are also helping. But jail beds have a way of abhorring emptiness. What will you do to keep beds from getting filled just because they’re there?

As I have said previously, I am a strong proponent of prison diversion programs and the new jail is not made to be filled up now, rather it is to make it safer for staff and inmates.  It will also provide classroom space for a host of educational opportunities that are being used to inhibit their reoffending. The pretrial release, mental health and alcohol diversion programs will expand with the demand as we increase in population and will hopefully keep our prison population at the lowest possible numbers. As I have said above, I am a proponent of both a juvenile and adult civil citation program, ones designed to help ease the staffing requirements and actual inmates in our beds over the years to come.  I have also mentioned the halfway house and if effective, will also work to keep prison population steady as we grow. The intent is to make this expansion of this facility last as many years as possible.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

12. In your opinion, and your own places of employment past and present aside, what is the best example of a Police or Sheriff Department in the United States, and why? Please be precise in your choice of agency.

I have modeled my agency on some of the philosophies used by the best law enforcement managers I had the pleasure to know.  In particular, I had the pleasure of meeting New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and admire his implementation of community oriented policing and how it transformed the relationship of law enforcement and the community. Ultimately, it led in some cases to a 90 percent drop in crime.  I also admired his implementation of Compstat under the leadership of former and present NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. I am also an admirer of former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil Perry who acted as my mentor during my first term and who influenced me in my pushing for accreditation in our agency. He also was a believer in discipline and accountability and treating his troops with respect. I hope that I have in some way met the high standards Sheriff Perry set for his agency and for what I have set for mine.

 

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

13. If you have been the subject of one or more Internal Affairs investigation or its equivalent, or a use of force complaint, please tell us in what agency, when, what the circumstances or issues were, and what the disposition was in those cases.

I have not been the subject of any internal affairs investigation or its equivalent, or a use of force complaint.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

14. An additional, customized question directed at Sheriff Manfre particularly: at the only forum featuring all candidates for sheriff, Don Fleming on three occasions questioned the integrity of your department’s crime statistics, strongly suggesting that the stats are being manipulated. Could you address the claim?

The same person has been handling UCR over the past 30 years for three different sheriffs.  She is an honest trustworthy employee who would never manipulate crimes reported by this agency.  She takes seriously the proper reporting of crimes that are required by state and federal law. Let me state unequivocally, no pressure has been applied to any employee to misreport our UCR to state and federal officials.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

14. An additional, customized question directed at Sheriff Manfre particularly: at the only forum featuring all candidates for sheriff, Don Fleming on three occasions questioned the integrity of your department’s crime statistics, strongly suggesting that the stats are being manipulated. Could you address the claim?

The same person has been handling UCR over the past 30 years for three different sheriffs.  She is an honest trustworthy employee who would never manipulate crimes reported by this agency.  She takes seriously the proper reporting of crimes that are required by state and federal law. Let me state unequivocally, no pressure has been applied to any employee to misreport our UCR to state and federal officials.

Jump to other candidates’ answer: Dougherty | Fleming | Jones | Lamb | Manfre | O’Gara | Staly | Whisenant | Yates

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10 Responses for “Jim Manfre, Flagler County Sheriff Candidate: The Live Interview”

  1. Geezer says:

    I am speechless.

  2. Heading North says:

    I’m afraid I gotta call BS on the whole response !! I applaud the questions as very well worded and congratulate the moderator – however Mr. Manfre’s reaction and answers were somewhat evasive and seemed self serving, (aka blowing ones own horn) . I do not believe the man should hold a Law Enforcement position of any nature, let alone Sheriff!!
    Elections are around the corner people of Flagler County!!!! Be well!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    blah blah blah-lies lies lies!

  4. 30 Year Cop says:

    It’s time for a Florida Cop to be the Sheriff of a Florida County.

  5. Manfre lies! says:

    If only there was accountability in this county. Manfe is a complete liar and a man who believes that he is above the law. He manipulates words to create half truths. When he came into office he used a simple and harsh tactic…resign or be fired! Birdsong, Cattiggo, Weston, O’brien, Bolante, Plumber, and Major Clair were all FORCED OUT by Manfre. That doesn’t even take into account the entire administrative staff that Manfre bright in with him who all quit. Manfe gave a directive to his commanders. “We need our stats to look better. If a car break or burglary doesn’t look solveable at first glance I want the header changed to a civil call!” Those commanders abandoned their own morals and did Manfres bidding. They directed supervisors to make sure it happened. That is illegal! Any investigation that involved sworn interviews with supervisors excluding Manfre (he has already lied under oath) will bring out the truth. The person who has been doing the ucr reporting for 30 years is not involved but the rest of the department is. It is a crime to purposely manipulate ucr reports and you deputies have an obligation to report it!

  6. girl says:

    As Heading North stated it is all BS… same old same… from him… he is great, he does nothing wrong, blames everyonefor his short failings… not a LE person.never was.. should never have been put back into office.. but we got what we voted for??? this time around we will be smart.// voters take note.//

  7. The Oracle says:

    AMAZING. Manfre has never worked as a police officer, anywhere. He has never taken or passed the State Law Enforcement Certification Exam, and he has well documented problems with the State Ethics Commission. The citizen of Flagler deserve better. Rick Staly is by far the most qualified person to be Sheriff. Take a little time to compare and you will be impressed, with his background. Thank you.

  8. Anon says:

    If you notice most of the questions are steering the current election towards broader community policing and outreach… Hint hint candidates !!! This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and established while this county is still relatively low crime and manageble why not get ahead of the bubble and implementing programs that will benefit the community instead of waiting until something Happens…

  9. DaveT says:

    The Sheriff has had his chance now its time for someone else.

  10. DP says:

    Manfre, & Fleming, are the reasons this agency have/has been in the lime lite. It’s time for a change, and neither of these 2 need to be sheriff, now, again, or ever. Time for a change, out with the good ole boy network, Out with the favorite’s and bring this agency into some sense or normal status and restore creditability. As a matter of fact that’s my stance with all the elections, time for a change, and it start’s with “YOU” or “US” the voter’s.

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