Two candidates are running for Flagler County Sheriff this year: Incumbent Republican Rick Staly and Democrat Larry Jones. Neither faced a primary challenge. It is the first time since at least 1996 that an incumbent has not faced a challenge.
Four years ago, the sheriff’s race drew eight candidates–six Republicans and two Democrats. Jones, who retired in 2014 as a sergeant after a three-decade career at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, defeated Jim Manfre in the primary. Staly defeated Jones in the general election, taking 54 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Jones got 39 percent of the vote, with an independent getting 7 percent. So this is a rematch between Jones and Staly.
It has been a lopsided race: Jones’s $4,000 in campaign contributions makes him the second-lowest funded candidate in any of the countywide races with the exception of one candidate for school board, who raised less than $2,000 (and lost). Staly has raised $111,000 so far, or $60,000 more than the next-best funded candidate in countywide races (County Commissioner Dave Sullivan, who raised nearly $50,000 in his winning bid for re-election, half of it his own money.)
The sheriff was paid $133,989 in 2020, a salary set by state law but paid out of local dollars.
FlaglerLive submitted 15 identical questions to the two candidates, who replied in writing, with the understanding that some follow-up questions may be asked, and that all exchanges would be on the record. Follow-up questions, when necessary, appear in italics. 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
- Strongest arguments
- Grading, achievements and flaws
- Public perception of cops
- Use of force
- Officer-involved shootings
- Black lives
- Police funding
- Deputy staffing
- Policing Palm Coast
- Lessons learned
- Background check
CANDIDATE: The Basics:
Place and Date of Birth:
1.To the sheriff: what is your strongest argument for a second term? To the challenger: what is your strongest argument against incumbency?
Sheriff: 47% crime reduction since election in 2017. Restoring citizen trust and community pride in their Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Receiving national, statewide, and regional recognition for professional excellence as a Sheriff’s Office with four types of accreditation, technology, traffic safety, addressing domestic violence, best practices in the use of force, and being a very attractive place to work. I have stabilized the agency and implemented a new culture of Guardianship community policing. I now want to build on these first term successes.
The Live Interviews:
Flagler School Board
Flagler County Sheriff
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?
Thoughtful, deliberative, objective, consistent, fair, kind, compassionate, patient and dedicated to our community. My style is to focus on getting the job done and continually encourage and support our team.
I’m a cop and not a politician. Despite my public image I am, at heart, an introvert. I am not the most extroverted individual like some elected officials are. However, I make myself be an extrovert, which over time has become easier. I think people value leaders who are committed to integrity and excellence and speak it like they see it, which is who I am, but at times can be too outspoken.
By any objective standard the last four years have established you as possibly the shrewdest if not the most effective politician in the county–if popularity, budgetary successes and the degree to which your approbation or support is curried by other politicians are any measure. Is calling yourself “not a politician” really tenable? And given previous sheriffs’ stumbles in that regard, does it not take a great deal of adept politicking to navigate the agency through county and city politics? Why the resistance to the label? Along the same lines of politicking, your savviness with public relations sometimes has you in your own agency’s releases and agency pictures claiming a limelight perhaps better trained on your rank and file: is publicity your Achille’s heel?
I am an effective and experienced law enforcement administrator and understand that being successful is about relationships and making the right decisions for the right reasons for both FCSO employees and the community. I have previously worked for five prior Sheriffs in top executive level positions. Four of those Sheriffs were successful. You learn from those that were successful and those that were not on how to handle the myriad of responsibilities and demands on a Sheriff to create your own successful style, which I have done. While I must be elected under Florida law (the politician side) I make decisions on what is best for the agency and the community and not because I fear not being re-elected or because I need a pay check. This allows me to be very independent and do the right thing instead of making political or emotional decisions, which is the downfall of many elected officials.
As to the second part of your questions, I am the face and the chief spokesperson for the Agency. The public expects to hear and see their Sheriff.I am not a desk-jockey Sheriff. I recognize our employees all the time through awards ceremonies and publicly in news releases or in-person with the news media. Many times the media has interviewed FCSO employees and written stories, including FlaglerLive. A frequent comment I receive is “We’ve never seen a Sheriff so involved with the community like you.”The team deserves all the credit. As Sheriff, I am their spokesman.
3. First, give the current sheriff a grade (A, B, C, etc.) with some explanation. Second, name the three strongest achievements of the last four years (even if you are the challenger), and name the three most serious flaws, failures or missed opportunities in the agency in the last four years.
I don’t give myself grades but I do look at what has been accomplished and what FCSO has become under my leadership with pride. But, I do look at what others say in objective assessments. The City of Palm Coast does an annual survey and the latest results are 95% of citizens say they feel safe in their neighborhood and 88% feel we do a good job. We have four professional accreditations, two obtained while I was either Undersheriff or Sheriff and the others have been maintained, and there’s only one way you obtain and maintain accreditation and that’s by adhering to the best professional law enforcement practices.
The three strongest achievements: 1) A 47% crime reduction – the lowest crime rate in Flagler County in 25 years; 2) Implementing District and Guardianship policing with the community; 3) Rebuilding a demoralized team and an agency that was not well-respected by the community and peer law enforcement agencies to seeing the enthusiasm and pride our team has in who they are, what they do, and who they serve with a community that now takes pride in FCSO and now being a regionally recognized leader in providing law enforcement services and crime reduction. As a result, In December 2019 the Daytona-News Journal recognized FCSO as one of the 10 Best Places to work in Volusia-Flagler County’s and the only government agency recognized. If I had to give myself a grade, I would rank myself an A- based on our accomplishments but knowing you can always improve crime reduction and services to the community.
There are two major challenges which predated me but I have had to invest an enormous amount of leadership and time in fixing. First, I had to order the abandonment of the Operations Center a year and a half into my term for the safety of our employees. This resulted in leading an organization that has no physical home and a very decentralized organization resulting in losses in time and efficiency.
Secondly, I inherited a very serious decades long staffing deficit that was hindering our ability to serve our community. Working with the county commission and Palm Coast city council we had begun to make progress but then the pandemic came. In hindsight the staffing study I ordered should have been ordered in my first year.
Third, building a stronger relationship with the local branch of the NAACP. I have spent some time with their leadership and attended some events to work on building a good working relationship but I believe this relationship could be stronger and better.
Regarding the operations center: you evacuated the moldy one in June 2018. We are now two years and four months from that date. The County Commission first voted to build a new operations center in April 2019. But here we are, ground unbroken 18 months later–a time span that would normally have accounted for the construction time of a new building. Covid has little to do with it: the virus hasn’t stopped residential construction from breaking records in Palm Coast. You were sharply critical of the previous administration regarding its foot-dragging in resolving your exile from the old operations center. You’ve been uncharacteristically quiet about the current administration’s foot-dragging, though it’s entirely its responsibility to get your agency into a new building. Why the silence, why the tolerance for the delays?
Actually Covid-19 did slow down the County’s selection process for the architect and the construction company as County resources were diverted. The process is tightly regulated by state law to ensure fairness and the best pricing for the taxpayer and is usually done in a public meeting by county staff so all bidders and interested parties can be present. It was at my suggestion and request the County used Zoom meetings to finalize the selection process. There have been delays in the County and vendors agreeing on contract language. During this time the county split the architectural services contract in to two phases so that preliminary drawings could be started while the master contract was being ironed out. Final site selection had to be worked out by the County so engineering, preliminary drawings, etc. could be started without wasting taxpayer money.
While this was going on the County built a temporary evidence/CSI building for use by FCSO that will later be a joint FCSO/Flagler County Fire Rescue training facility. While my team and I wish we were much further along we all recognize that to do this project right, which I demanded, takes time and I do see significant movement underway. The previous County administrator tried to hide and cover-up for their mistakes and bad decisions and did not want to take accountability for them or the illnesses they caused my employees and that is why I had to be vocal. The current County Administrator and County Commission has recognized the issues, conducted a space needs study, selected the architect and construction company and is now in the design phase. You don’t want to start clearing land until you know where retention ponds, parking lots and the building will actually be situated. To do so early would be a waste of taxpayer money and likely unnecessarily destroy areas of the environment that would be unnecessary. Once the design phase is done, which is always the slowest part (even in building a home), you will see visible progress on the site. Do I wish this County project was further along? Absolutely! But I do understand government takes longer to do things because of more internal regulations than private business has and the County is now making significant progress so there is no reason to be vocal.
4. What priorities can we look forward to that will visibly and effectively make a difference in public safety in our communities and public trust in our deputies?
Public trust is essential to public safety. I would ask citizens to visit our Honor to Serve webpage which shows that your FCSO had implemented all of the reforms recommended at both the national level and state level early in my first term and long before the calls for police reform across the country. This demonstrates our strong commitment to citizen trust and engagement, transparency, and accountability.
In a second term, I am spearheading a regional initiative with the Sheriff’s of Putnam, Volusia and St. Johns counties, along with the Daytona Beach Police Department, to ensure that our region and community never looks inviting to certain criminal elements (I can’t go into detail here without potentially compromising active investigations). In addition, we will continue to improve on and build organizational depth in the new initiatives implemented during my first term and in our Community Policing Division. Community involvement, crime reduction, guardianship policing, technology, transparency, inmate rehabilitation and youth programs will remain top priorities and a hallmark of my tenure.
But you opened the door to the question: to float what sounds like an important public safety initiative but say you can’t go into detail is the old Nixonian ploy of saying right around election time that he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War, when of course he had nothing (the war escalated in his first term), though it helped win him the election. Since policing is very much of a public concern, and secret local policing is not a norm in an open society, surely you can give us a better idea of the tri-county initiative you are referring to, if it’s that consequential, before we hear of it in one of those camera-rich news conferences with other sheriffs and the state attorney at your side.
Sorry, but I cannot and will not compromise an active investigation. I can tell you that it includes a federal partner and when we reveal this operation, you will want to attend the press conference to let your readers know. I can’t speak for the late President Nixon but in my case there is a plan, there is an ongoing operation but it will take time to bring it to conclusion.Covid-19 did slow down this operation to ensure the safety of all employees involved. As always, we will make sure that the public and news media know the facts and results when the investigation is complete.
5. In the ongoing French election every candidate claims crime is a problem, every candidate is making crime an issue, yet crime is unquestionably down. We get some of the same vibes in our pages: though crime is at a historic low, responses from readers tend to reflect a fear of rising crime and insecurity. Surely media reports are partly to blame, though no differently than sheriff’s releases highlighting this or that arrest. So looking beyond these reports, to what do you attribute that seeming insecurity or sense of anxiety?
I believe an informed and engaged community is a safer community. As a result of informing the community of what is occurring and asking for their help to solve crimes using “see something, say something,” it does lead to a dichotomy between fact and perception. It is statistically proven by FDLE Uniform Crime Reporting that crime is down 47% in Flagler County since I have been Sheriff, proving the new vision and various initiatives I have implemented are working. The City of Palm Coast’s annual survey resulted in 95% of citizens feeling safe in their neighborhood. For Guardianship community policing to be successful it requires the engagement of the community. We have done a great job engaging the community but it likely helped create this perception. It is also likely that media, local, state and national, contribute to this insecurity by focusing on crime and, lately, national unrest, without balancing the positives we do in the media coverage.
6. Law enforcement officers’ treatment of citizens clearly impacts public opinion of law enforcement, whether by word of mouth, cell phone clips, body cam clips, and how those who’ve had interactions with police speak of those interactions with friends and family. How does that opinion play into your management of your ranks?
Our culture is to treat citizens the way we would want to be treated in the same situation. Our recruitment, hiring, training, agency culture, policies, technology, supervision, and accountability mechanisms all support ensuring that citizens are treated professionally and respectfully. We train significantly in de-escalation techniques that have been successful many times. We wear body cameras and are phasing in patrol car cameras to complement the body cameras. We are a transparent Agency publishing an Agency annual report, and annual reports on Use of Force; Biased Based Policing; and, even our policy on the Use of Defensive Tactics is on our website. In addition, we are an accredited law enforcement agency and I serve as a Commissioner on the Commission for Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFLEA) and previously served as the Chair of the Standards, Review and Interpretation Committee for FCLEA and I will soon be Vice-Chair of the Commission. This requires me and allows FCSO to stay on the cutting edge of professional policing. But, most importantly we don’t police the community – we police with the community. Those two words make a huge difference.
7. In potentially controversial situations such as use of force incidents, it is common to hear the use of force described by police as legal and within policy. But accepting that much, that’s different than saying whether the use of force is necessary or acceptable, even if it is legally defensible. Assuming you acknowledge a distinction between the two standards, how do you ensure that the use of force is not only legal, but also necessary and acceptable even when legal beyond question?
We have a de-escalation culture in FCSO. It may be legal to use a specific level of force but our culture is to utilize the best response to achieve a safe resolution for all. Use of force events have dropped by 46% from 28 incidents in 2016 under the former Sheriff to 15 cases in 2019, while at the same time offender arrests have increased by 38%. Use of force is defined as having to physically take someone to the ground, use of a Dart Firing Stun Gun (Taser), aerosol spray, impact weapon, non-lethal weapons, less-lethal weapons such as impact munitions up-to deadly force. Based on the number of arrests per year, FCSO’s statistics show that an arrestee has a 0.04% chance of having force used by a Deputy during an arrest.
It is estimated that deputies would have been legally justified to use lethal force 12-15 times since I took office, but deputies were able to de-escalate these cases successfully. Our Agency, policies, training and deputies value life and we have proven the difference between the two standards you stated by our actions.
There is no question that the agency’s record in de-escalation is well established: that’s the next question’s premise. But taking your figure of 0.04 percent: your agency executed 2,611 arrests in 2019, according to the UCR report. That works out to 104 instances of use of force, or on average two per week. In a jurisdiction How is that reassuring?
Sorry missed a zero in the original answer. In 2019 our UCR Records indicate 2,611 arrests occurring by law enforcement deputies as you stated.Of that there were only 15 cases of law enforcement Deputies using any type of force in 2019. That equates to the likelihood of a Deputy using defensive tactics during an arrest at 0.00575%, significantly less than one percent.In any event, the takeaway should be that it is extremely unlikely that if you are arrested by an FCSO deputy that any force will be used at all during the arrest. The real takeaway should be that since I have been Sheriff the use of defensive tactics (Use of Force) has dropped significantly from 28 cases in 2016 under the former Sheriff to just 15 cases in 2019 despite FCSO deputies arresting more offenders since I have been Sheriff.And, the final takeaway should be that FCSO deputies only use force or defensive tactics based on the subject’s actions and resistance used against a Deputy Sheriff by the offender.
8. Four years ago we asked this question, and gladly ask it again with a minor variation: for eight years now, not a single individual has been killed by a Flagler County deputy in Flagler County. (One individual shot himself in a stand-off with deputies in November 2013, ex-Flagler deputy Daniel Ruddell was shot at last November as he attempted to flee from deputies, including Flagler deputies, in St. Johns County, and one suspect was shot and wounded in a Mondex standoff earlier this year). There has continued to be more documented instances of armed individuals who were peacefully apprehended after stand-offs or confrontations, all in contrast with surrounding counties, not to mention the rest of the country. To what do you attribute Flagler’s continuing trend, and what will you do to ensure that this, as opposed to a more violent, norm, continues?
Our recruitment, hiring practices to include thorough backgrounds to include psychological and polygraph testing, outstanding training and continuing education, Agency culture, policies, technology, supervision, and accountability mechanisms all support our de-escalation culture which will always continue with me as your Sheriff.
9. How do Black Lives Matter to you. How do you (or will you) ensure that they do among the ranks and in the county?
I care about each and every person we protect and serve regardless of their color or ethnic heritage. Everyone deserves to be treated with professionalism, respect, courtesy and care. Our deputies share that vision and those values. I attended a number of community events and peaceful marches this year, where our deputies interacted positively with the marchers, handed out water and protected them crossing intersections. We received very positive feedback from those participating in the marches. In addition, we had already implemented the national and state police reforms that were suggested.
We work hard to reflect our community in our Agency through recruitment, hiring and training, We are not 100% reflective of our community in each ethnic group yet, but we have forged a strong relationship with Bethune-Cookman University and I have implemented internships and Academy scholarships to help break down the barriers many minorities often face when trying to enter law enforcement.
Since I have been Sheriff I have promoted the highest ranking African-American female in history in our Detention Facility to Commander; and the highest ranking Law Enforcement Division African-American male in many decades to Commander.
How does the internship with BCC work–how many interns actually work in your agency in a given year, and for what stretches of time? What is the ratio of white-to-minority deputies in the agency today compared to when you took over, where would you like that ratio to be–and if it’s not where you’d want it to be, will it be so in four years?
While I cannot predict the future and there are a lot of factors that are involved in minority recruiting my goal is to mirror the community demographics according to the census. It will require our minority community to encourage and support members of these different ethnic groups to apply.
We had five interns last summer three of whom were from Bethune-Cookman University.If we get past COVID-19, I expect we will have more this summer.Some just want to do a ride-along with a Deputy Sheriff.Others intern with our Victims’ Services team to assist crime victims, CSI, PAO, etc.Some just like to speak with a mentor and take a tour to learn about various career opportunities. The length of time an intern works at FCSO varies and depends upon their availability, class schedule, etc.
I’ve hired 21 minority Deputy’s since taking office in 2017 and sought the help of the NAACP and Bethune-Cookman University in recruiting more minority deputies.
Currently, we have four African-American Deputy Sheriff Trainees in the law enforcement academy that will join FCSO upon graduation.Two of these are from our internship program and partnership with Bethune-Cookman University.
While we have no available data of the ratio between white and minority deputies under the former Sheriff (prior to 2017) to compare too, here is what it is today:
U.S. Census – July 1, 2019
Black or African American
Two or more Races
Hispanic/Latino (all races)
We are working to accomplish reflecting the community by using best practices for recruitment, internships and police academy scholarships for qualified applicants. You can’t fix this decades old problem overnight but we are on the right track.
Today, under my tenure as Sheriff, minorities now know they have advancement opportunities at FCSO, whether that is for promotion, assignment as a Detective, assignment to Youth Services or any other specialty unit. Recently, in a competitive Agency selection process an African-American Deputy was selected to fill a vacant K-9 handler position and became the first full-time minority K-9 handler in the Agency’s history. I’ve also promoted the first two African-Americans to the rank of Commander in FCSO history.
For our 2021 internal academy, 11 of 18 (or 61%) of our applicants are female or minorities. I am very optimistic for the future as we are currently processing many minority applicants for employment.
10. There is no question of “defunding police” in Flagler—and polemical exaggerations aside, there is little question about “defunding” anywhere. There are discussions about redirecting resources from one type of policing to another, or de-emphasizing certain approaches as opposed to others. What concrete possibilities do you see along those lines locally, if any?
It’s proven to be a bad public policy in the cities that have made sudden, sweeping, subjective, and arbitrary cuts to their law enforcement resulting in higher crime, lawlessness, and citizens and businesses fearing for their security. I believe our community rejects this failed approach. Our current approaches are working with crime at its lowest levels since 1995 and community satisfaction is up so I would not change anything. In addition, a study proved that FCSO has historically been and still is understaffed so there is nothing to cut. If in the future FCSO is properly staffed and if mental health funding was increased by the State to adequately serve our community and reduce suicides and therefore demands for law enforcement response, we could potentially reduce the future staffing needs for FCSO.
The defunding debate is of relatively recent vintage. Can you document one or two examples of “sudden, sweeping, subjective, and arbitrary cuts” in actual cities or jurisdictions that have resulted in higher crime and lawlessness–understanding that the claim that calls for defunding have led to higher crime has been discredited, while White House claims that there was a connection between the two have also been found to be erroneous.
Just look at Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, New York City and Portland. While all the cuts, transfers have not been fully implemented yet (NY City alone has indicated they are cutting $1billion from the NYPD budget), murders and crime has increased significantly in those cities. I receive daily briefings from the International Association of Chiefs of Police on what is occurring nationwide and across the globe in policing and from the National Sheriff’s Association. These briefings include a synopsis of the article with links. A few are below:
Note: The sheriff’s reference to New York City’s $1 billion cut is not as sharp as it sounds, and operating dollars were reduced by less than $100 million in a $6 billion budget. See details here.
11. In a related matter, Flagler has seen its crime rate steadily fall, and very sharply so over the past few years, yet Sheriff Staly is looking to vastly increase the ranks of the sheriff’s office, based on a study that would add 70 deputies by 2025, a year after the end of the winner’s next term. Recognizing that some growth in ranks is justifiable as demand grows, how is that not contradictory, excessive and unaffordable, especially in light of debates about recalibrating the distribution of police forces?
I implemented district policing to properly allocate manpower based upon actual service demand and citizen needs. Since I have been Sheriff, we have implemented technology, a Real Time Crime Center and many other initiatives to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of available manpower. The study you mention factored in the high population growth Flagler County experienced and is again experiencing and the new residential developments and businesses Palm Coast and the County are approving and a historic manpower deficit I inherited.
The study proved that it’s a fallacy to believe that crime rate, even a falling crime rate, solely sets your service demand and manpower needs. It’s the growth rate a community experiences and the level of service citizens expect that determines manpower. We have a very high growth rate and our residents want a high level of service. We don’t hang out waiting for a citizen to call for help. Fifty-percent of our calls for service in 2019 were initiated by deputies – we are pro-active addressing quality of life and public safety issues before they become crimes and problems. This explains how our community has such a low crime rate and a high quality of life.
As Sheriff, I don’t control the growth that the city and county approves but we do have to deal with it. When you have a city that triples in size in the last 20 years and will double in population in the next 20 years you have to plan and prepare for this type of growth. If you fail to do that and fall behind you will lose your crime reduction gains and quality of life and once that occurs you cannot recover.
While the study lays out projections the reality is FCSO will not grow by 70 deputies by 2025. That is not realistic and not affordable by our community. The issue that we face as a community, specifically the City of Palm Coast and the Board of County Commissioners, is how do we work together to fund identified “deficit” deputies that should have been funded many years ago, if not decades, ago and additional “growth” driven deputies and not burden our taxpayers but have growth pay for its impact to our community. That’s why I have asked for a joint city council-county commission planning session to discuss a long term fiscally responsible plan to ensure we have the deputies to meet the service demand from our citizens. The bottom line: It’s not the crime rate – it’s the growth rate that demands we do this. I would also encourage everyone to read the UNF study, which can be found on the FCSO website
12. Evaluate policing in Palm Coast—the budgetary relationship with the city, community relations with residents—and tell us where you see needed improvements in either.
The citizens of Palm Coast are very pleased with their Sheriff’s Office. The most recent city survey confirms 95% feel safe in their neighborhood and 88% feel we do an excellent or good job. Citizens come by the District 2 Office in Palm Coast several times a week to bring meals to our deputies and express their appreciation. Every event you go to in the city has citizens applauding FCSO and they fill our Facebook page with positive comments every day. Soon there will be a permanent Palm Coast District 2 office on N. Old Kings Road in a converted bank building. This will finally give FCSO a permanent home since the Palm Coast District Office has been a nomad for almost 40-years.
As to the budget the City of Palm Coast enjoys a unique relationship for police services that is unheard of across the country. The majority of law enforcement services for Palm Coast are funded by the Board of County Commissioners with the City of Palm Coast paying for an enhanced level of service through a contract with FCSO. In comparison, the City of Deltona, a city of equal in size in Volusia County, contracts with Volusia Sheriff at a cost of $13 million annually, paying virtually 100% of the policing cost. Growth, approved by the City Council will drive the future needs. Fairness between county tax funding and Palm Coast funding will need to be discussed as the County feels the City is not paying enough for police services and the City feels this is the responsibility of the County. That is why I have recommended, a joint city-county commission summit to discuss a feasible and responsible long rage plan to sustain our high level of citizen satisfaction and service expectations in a very high growth community so that each governmental agrees to their part. I look forward to this opportunity and discussion.
13. Succession is an important component of any organization, and organizations without succession plans show their weaknesses at the worst times: Flagler County government was an example. There is no clearly stated second in command at the sheriff’s office—or is there? Residents have the right to know: Please tell us who would be your interim in case, heaven forbid, you should be unable to perform your duties for a time, in the next four years.
As Sheriff, I have invested heavily in leadership development and as a result our organization is filled with talented leaders. In the few times I have been out of town since I was elected I have rotated emergency responsibility between our Division Chiefs for immediate response until I could get back to Flagler County (fortunately never needed). I’m also in excellent health. I am confident of the future but unlike the Governor in Florida or the President or even County government as you alluded in the question, Florida law does not allow the Sheriff to appoint his replacement – either temporarily or permanently, so regardless of any succession plan I may have it is a moot point. In the event of a catastrophic event occurring to any Sheriff in Florida, Florida law requires the Governor to make the appointment of an Interim Sheriff. The Governor could obviously appoint one of the Division Chiefs or appoint someone else either internally or externally. If the Governor were to follow his past practices when vacancies for Sheriff have occurred, most recently in Clay County, the Governor is more likely to appoint someone from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) or from outside the agency as he did in Broward County.
14. To Sheriff Staly: what have you learned in the past four years as sheriff that now makes you do your job differently than you were doing it in the first months of your administration? To Larry Jones: how have your years away from the force changed your perspective on leadership, and what have you done to prepare in those years since you left the agency?
I examine the decisions our team makes and the results we get weekly and monthly. I look for opportunities for improvement. I ask the team to analyze what’s the best way to do something and implement best practices. In the beginning, we operated in a consolidated environment but since we had to abandon our sick building we now have to operate in a very decentralized environment that makes leading an organization much harder and more time consuming. The pandemic added another unexpected challenge and dealing with three hurricanes without a Sheriff’s Operations Center were also challenges. What I have learned in the four years after having to abandon our building, three hurricanes and a pandemic that you must be prepared for anything that occurs as Sheriff through your education and experience, expect the un-expectable and be flexible enough to lead the team through it.
15. 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.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office – Using a photograph of a former position in a flyer without written permission (had verbal permission only) – written reprimand. c. 2000.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office – at-fault vehicle accident – oral counseling. c. about 1987 don’t remember exact date.
Hes been a good Sheriff. Pulled that County kicking and screaming into the 21st Century LEO wise. Its always good to change. Dont need folks getting too cozy in these Elected positions. I dont care for his Political affiliations but that didnt stop me from voting for him. I am not eligible to cast a ballot in FPC anymore but I wouldnt give him my vote this time.
My sentiments too.
E. Hoffa says
A hard working honest man who should be re-elected to keep Palm Coast SAFE!
No need to change what is working well.
C’mon man says
Pretty obvious choice I would think. Educated and experienced vs not.
The Voice Of Reason says
I’m very happy with the job he and his people have done. I have never felt safer in 16 years of living here.
Rocky J. says
Reminds me of that old cartoon called ” Deputy Dog “. It was a goonbucket looking short, over weight hound dog with a silly voice.
Nope, not getting my vote !!!
Trailer Bob says
Sheriff Staley has been doing an impressive job since taking office. I have met him several times and also placed his campaign signs on my property.
It is refreshing to have a sheriff that is intelligent, kind, resourceful, and approachable.
I do find it weird that down here in Florida one’s political affiliation is considered significant when studying ones qualifications for law enforcement attributes.
Staley has me and my wife’s vote again.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Sorry Sheriff – You have gone from Hero to Zero –
You asked me , a senior citizen to pay for masks for your deputies to hand out for free in public at a commission meeting, Flagler Beach started doing that a few weeks later and got all their masks FREE from the Heath Department.
You don’t allow female prisoners masks; the cots are less than 6 feet apart and they have been given rotten fruit to eat at times. ( Hand sanitizer stations are located ‘outside’ of the barracks)… Your own deputies have masks that are falling off their faces and say that’s what you give them… and you appear to not have much interest, if any, ‘white collar’ crimes in my opinion.
Taking eight thousand dollars in donations from 8 different entities – controlled by the same person clinched my no vote this time. But you don’t care you already bought the election ( in my oppinion)
C’mon man says
Jane get over it. Quit listening to your lying convicted friend about cots and fruit in the jail. I’ve had the fruit there and it’s actually not bad.
Jane appreciate your post!!!! You hit the nail on the head regarding the white collar crime in the community!!! The ole saying distract , redirect, negate!!!!! For a man that’s not politicki something is definitely fishy in this mans MO!!!!!!!!
Free Spirit says
Why wasn’t the topic of the public surveillance listed here? Domestic surveillance and the erosion of civil liberties should be a concern for everyone. A recent article with Sheriff Staly and Chief Bovino outlined the complacency with their own surveillance system and disregard for our civil liberties.
I’ll say it again because I feel this applies here. Yes, crime is everywhere. That’s why there will always be a need for public servants to protect and serve when called upon. Unfortunately that slope became slippery and began to collapse when, “Protect and Serve” became “Crime Prevention.” At what point does someone completely lose sight of what sets America apart from third world countries? At what point does someone become so unthankful for the freedom their fathers and forefathers gave us? We are living in a time where third world domestic surveillance has hit home and at a chilling level. It can’t be candy coated. American citizens who have a fundamental understanding of what truly makes “America Great” should never accept the normalization of the type of public surveillance system that is currently in place under this Sheriff’s watch. Sacrificing citizens freedoms for the sake of a few should not apply in America yet these invasive technologies are normalized by the companies who sell it and the various law enforcement agencies that can not resist the temptation to consume it. Please Flaglerlive, if you haven’t done so already, cover this topic with Larry Jones so we know where he stands.
In regards to Flagler Live’s recent article:
“The Sheriff’s Office has License Plate Readers trained on 38 road lanes at 30 locations around the county. It has access to live feeds from several dozen traffic cameras installed by Palm Coast government around town.”
“It does not have immediate, live access to private residences’ and business’ surveillance camera feeds, but it is growing a large database of those cameras, and can ask to access their footage close to real time.”
Behold, Ring. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/06/amazon-ring-must-end-its-dangerous-partnerships-police
“OK, this is not a monitoring center. We do not care what everybody is doing that we’re monitoring people on a daily basis. We are only using live feeds when it impacts a crime or an investigation that we are currently working.”
What could possibly go wrong?
“License Plate Reader data is channeled through a private company, which itself dispatches information back to the crime center on demand.”
Behold, Vigilant Solutions.
“It will include a “war room” that will be the agency’s command center.”
Kind of like a Fusion Center?
“County Administrator Jerry Cameron”
“For most of us growing up in law enforcement all we relied on was dispatch. We got dispatched to a call, and then we used our feet and our hands and our mouths to go and investigate”
Yes, we the people remember those days. A citizen called the police and you were then dispatched to protect and serve. Thank you for your service.
“feed that information to deputies and detectives in the field, increasing their ability to solve the cases faster, protect the public faster, find missing people faster, and do all those great things that law enforcement does when we’re responding to crimes in progress or assistance to the public.”
When will other “great things” like “basic human rights and freedoms” also be a priority for LE?
“It’s like playing on a football team,” Bovino said”
“The agency doesn’t have direct access to the camera feeds themselves, and does not plan to have that access.”
“(The agency just publicized that program as its “Silent Guardian” program.)”
“Seven missing persons have been recovered with License Plate Readers so far this year, and some 40 stolen vehicles have been recovered, about equal to the number last year.”
Justification for public buy-in. Bravo.
“Bovino said there has been no cases of deputies misusing the system.”
Really? Just like the driver database?
“The sheriff said everything deputies do on the computer system is tracked, so the agency can determine who accessed what, and why.”
I’m so relieved “the agency” has a handle on things.
“However, the sheriff’s office will cooperate with any agency, including such federal agencies as the Border Patrol, requesting help tracking down a vehicle or an individual. So in effect the center can be placed in the service of other agencies.”
Sounds about right.
“Further, “partners” that have the same type of technology, such as the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, can and will share the data through the private company that administers the license plate readers.”
St. Johns? What could possibly go wrong?
Staly Please Stay says
Excellent job, carry on!