Mark Sousa, a detention deputy at the Flagler County jail, was suspended without pay for 30 days–the severest form of discipline at the agency short of getting fired–after an internal affairs investigation found he’d reported to work at the jail drunk on January 25.
It was almost four hours before supervisors pulled him off duty as he went about work and interaction with inmates while still impaired, creating serious safety and liability issues for himself, inmates and the agency, though the blame wasn’t his alone: a civilian employee had alerted a supervisor of his possible impairment within minutes of Sousa arriving at work that morning. But it took the civilian repeated and insistent requests before the supervisor, Sgt. Tammy Stakes, asked her to put her concern in writing, triggering commanders’ interventions and Sousa getting pulled off the line and tested for alcohol. Those tests did not take place until four hours into his shift, though they still showed impairment.
Sousa is being disciplined, but the supervisory lapse is part of a separate inquiry, the second such inquiry into supervisory lapses at the agency in the last few months, with a sergeant, a commander and a corporal all at first seeming not to react assertively when told of Sousa’s issue. (The other ongoing inquiry involves, among other matters, the former supervisor of courthouse bailiffs).
The details of the latest and still-open inquiry are not known, but are focused on supervisors. As with the internal affairs investigation regarding Sousa and reports from the courthouse, the inquiries suggest there’s a disconnect between an accountability-driven leadership and middle management that may at times be more lax, or protective (if not dismissive) of issues among the ranks.
The issues are smudging what until now had been a near-impeccable run of the agency for Sheriff Rick Staly, who’s made clear to his ranks that he has their back, but has made just as clear that he expects them to have his and the agency’s back as well by maintaining the standards he’s setting. While the agency makes allowances for inevitable minor lapses–there’s been several other internal inquiries and disciplinary actions that amount to no more than the usual missteps and corrections in any organization of any size, and aren’t newsworthy–more serious individual or supervisory lapses are like stop-sticks in the Sheriff’s two-way expectations.
Stakes has been at the agency since 1995. She was a detention services lieutenant until January 2014, when then-Sheriff Jim Manfre eliminated the rank of lieutenant and named Stakes one of his commanders. Last November she voluntarily demoted to Sergeant and was placed on a performance-improvement plan, suggesting that there had been other supervisory issues, but that she was being given the chance to correct them.
As for Sousa, he attributed his lapse to serious personal issues but pledged to address them. “I have been in this profession for seven years and my career is extremely important to me,” he said at the conclusion of the internal affairs investigation concerning him. “I am just hoping the sheriff will have a little mercy for me. This is a tough time for me but I’m getting help.”
Laura Kruger is a civilian classification officer in the Flagler County Sheriff’s court and detention division. She’s been at the agency 14 years. At about 6:30 the morning of Jan. 29, she walked into the jail and saw Sousa in the booking area. Sousa, a detention deputy since November 2013, was standing at a computer. He’d not been able to find his body camera, which may have been used by another deputy and had not been placed back on its charger.
“I asked him if he was feeling ok because he didn’t look right, he just wasn’t himself,” Kruger said. “He was stumbling around fighting with the computer, was not able to keep his eyes open. I asked him at one point if he could open his eyes to talk to me?” Sousa couldn’t. He turned around to look at her and stumbled, according to Kruger’s account of the encounter as related in an internal affairs investigation.
Kruger asked Sousa if he was sick. “No I was out drinking all night and I might still be drunk,” he reportedly told her. She asked him to repeat himself. He chuckled and left the booking area. Deputy Colin Haggerty, who was also in the booking area, took Sousa’s comment as a joke, and his stumble as something more like tripping. Stakes was also in the booking area. When Kruger told Stakes of the exchange, “she didn’t really react,” Kruger said, “so I left the booking area.”
Stakes remembered it differently. “You better run an Intoxilyzer [test] on him,” she recalls Kruger telling her of Sousa. “I was kinda like, really?” But she said she’d already told Sousa he’d reported to work late, and after Kruger raised the concern about drinking, Stakes stepped close to Sousa, trying to smell any alcohol on him. She did not detect any. She said she grabbed the Intoxilyzer and took it to her office, where she informed Louis Miclei, the deputy detention commander, of her conversation with Kruger.
“He says look,” Stakes reports Miceli telling her, “if she says something again let’s get it in writing, and I said ok.”
Neither Miceli nor Stakes, it appears, confronted Sousa or themselves re-approached Kruger, but waited on Kruger’s next move, in essence letting pass a potentially ongoing safety and liability issue with a working employee, letting time pass that would prove critical in accurately assessing the potential impairment of the employee, and placing the burden of raising the issue again on another subordinate, which may or may not have happened.
It took an employee’s repeated insistence for supervisors to intervene, four hours into the deputy’s shift.
It did. at 9:30 a.m. Kruger and Sousa crossed paths again. Sousa still appeared out of sorts: “He was kinda using the wall as a guide and wasn’t keeping his eyes open,” Kruger said. No words were exchanged. Kruger headed for Stakes’s office and again asked her if anyone had checked out Sousa for his fitness for duty. Cpl. William Vazquez, a detention deputy, was in Stakes’s office. He’d seen Sousa just after 6 a.m. before Sousa went into a cell block to do a head count. He hadn’t noticed anything unusual about Sousa at that point.
Vazquez and Stakes both looked at Kruger without reacting. Kruger pressed again. Only then Stakes asked her if she was willing to put it in writing. Krugar was. She would later tell an investigator that she’d been upset by Stakes’s slow reaction, having expected Sousa to have been pulled off the floor after she’d voiced her initial concerns. “I wish I was wrong but you’re not going to get someone hurt,” is how she saw it. Vazquez would later tell an investigator that he did nothing because Stakes “led me to believe that she’s on top of it and handling it.”
Once Kruger’s statement was in writing, Stakes had Sousa do “busywork” in her office until Undersheriff Jack Bisland, Miceli and Human Resources Director Renina Fuller spoke with Sousa and asked him if he was intoxicated. He said he’d been drinking the night before, but did not believe he was impaired. He was taken to be alcohol-tested. Two tests were conducted—at 10:01 and 10:03 a.m., or four hours after Sousa had reported to work. The results were 0.096 and 0.093, according to the internal investigation.
“What does a 0.93 indicate to you?” Detective Randall Doyle, the internal affairs investigator, asked him. “Above the legal limit,” Sousa responded. “Detective Doyle then suggested that he had the test been administered at (6 a.m.) the results would have been significantly higher and Deputy Sousa concurred,” the investigation report states. “Detective Doyle clarified the safety issues involved with him performing his normal duties and interactions with inmates while in the identified condition he was in at the time. Deputy Sousa acknowledged that the totality of the situation was extremely unsafe.”
“Did Corporal Vasquez ever ask you if you were alright or if you were intoxicated?” Doyle asked Sousa.
“No,” Sousa replied.
“Did anyone other than Laura Kruger ask you if you were intoxicated?”
“It was at this time,” Doyle concluded in a part of the investigation as indicting of the supervision at the jail as it was of Sousa, “that I identified how serious this situation had become due to the time that had elapsed after Ms. Kruger’s initial concerns being brought to Sergeant Stake’s attention. Deputy Sousa advised that he fully understands the concerns as well as the scope of all that was involved.” (The investigative report refers to Kruger as “Krugar” throughout.)
Sousa explained in wrenching personal details the issues he’d been dealing with involving his ex-fiancee, and on two occasions appears to have become emotional. “People all think my life is all fine and dandy but it’s not,” he said.
For the infraction, which the investigation sustained, Sousa could have faced termination. Instead, he was suspended for 30 days, or 168 work hours, and removed from the jail’s Corrections Special Operations Team, or CSOT, the jail’s equivalent of a SWAT team. He was allowed, as by sheriff’s policy, to give up 84 hours in accrued vacation leave to account for half his suspension. Thus he worked through Tuesday, with his actual suspension away from the job scheduled between March 28 and April 10, when he will also be without badge and weapon.
Sousa has no other disciplinary issues on his record. In 2014, he was severely injured after losing control of his motorcycle on Palm Harbor Parkway the morning after July 4, at 1:34 a.m. He was off-duty, and was not alcohol-tested at the time. The Sheriff’s Office conducted that investigation. The severe injury to his leg has caused the “bad leg” he refers to in the investigative report, and to which he attributed what Kruger had seen as a stumble that January morning.
Doyle’s investigative report does not more directly address the supervisory issues at the jail, as those were not part of the scope of his investigation. But Chief Mark Strobridge acknowledged: “Yes there is an issue there, and it’s being followed up,” he said, saying–without specifying the supervisors’ names that “there is an inquiry into their conduct” with “additional internals going on.” That suggests the inquiries may be full-fledged internal affairs investigations rather than mere inquiries. Sheriff Rick Staly, Strobridge said, “is very adamant about holding people accountable for their actions.”
He said there is no systemic issue with supervision in the agency, but there is an ongoing initiative to review the supervisory structure to ensure accountability. In both instances of recent supervisory issues–at the courthouse and at the jail–the structure was that inherited by the current sheriff, Strobridge said.
Mark Sousa should not be confused with Cpl. Paul DeSousa, an 11-year veteran and the training director at the agency, who is not at all involved in any of these matters.
Concerned Citizen says
Wow who’s running the Sheriff’s Office these days? The Sheriff or inmates? LOL
So let me get this right a Deputy in a sworn position carrying a weapon shows up to work drunk. Someone blows the whistle on him and in true good ol boy network fashion they try to ignore it. Said whistle blower then persists and FINALLY a supervisor is brought in.
A breath test is given then an investigation follows and the Deputy is suspended?? I sure hope the whistle blower has a decent savings account because I have a hunch unemployment is going to follow rapidly.
SO now the following events have happened in the last few months.
1.) A deputy crashes his patrol car responding to a call. Nothing ever came of that I believe.
2.) Deputies in the courthouse act as they please and one was even accused of having child porn. Still waiting on results of that investigation. And then a racist supervisor is transferred not disciplined to a desk position.
3.) A deputy comes to work drunk and is suspended for 30 days. But not after numerous attempts to report him to supervisors.
One common factor I see is we have heard nothing from the Sheriff yet. Not even a press release to let the public know he is addressing these issues. Does he just think it will go away?
The Sheriff needs to get out there and lead by example. He also needs to restructure his entire command staff because the ones there now either don’t care or are incompetent.
Yes as adults we are responsible for our own actions. In a public safety organization though rank and file employees have to be trained and then supervised. Where is the supervision?
Where I worked he would be released, But not in Flagler county same old same old. You can do your Friday fugitive but you need to do the same for your own,
@ concerned citizen true but the thing is if you go back to his campaign run his whole idea to reverse the whole MANFRE regime of firing people was to instead retain them and not be that guy !!! Problem is he inherited some baggage in leadership and senior people who were so set in their ways over the last two sheriffs that it was impossible create a new working environment that would promote good morale as well as work ethics and integrity . He simply got rid of ones who were loyal to Manfre and promoted the ones who were loyal to Manfre before him but then became loyal to him just for sake of promotion it does not by far make them good leader because they have been around all this time and nothing has ever been so transparent until now that shows their lack of leadership he’s made chiefs and and commmanders for what ? There is a huge disconnect I. Actual leading by example when the example that is leadership is currently flawed … some of them have just simply been there forever back sunce the days of low crime and nothing to do and these guys are in charge now and are set in their ways and the deputies under them are creating their own since of how things are as they see it . No excuse for racism … no excuse for poor leadership.. no excuse for lack of interfaith no excuse period In 2018 when the world is changing daily .. this is not a large agency this is just an agency with a large problem and because if the lack of solid opponents during the election. This sheriff is assuming he will be un Opposed because of how he is charging things when nothing has really changed it’s just a smoke and mirror show…the commander at the jail should be punished as well as the SGT and Cpl …. the deputy was correctly punished but his recovery should be closely monitored just because he says he needs help it could also be an excuse to get lighter punishment … these high ranking leaders need to put their ear to the ground and hear their people and citizens all these press releases about how a high ranking leader is at this academy and that leadership conference and it has shown nothing but more disdain in the ranks and it’s showing in these investigations
It takes 5-7 years to change the culture of an organization. This is the process of the old culture imploding. If Sheriff Staly hold not only these employees accountable, but also the chain of command, it will go a,long way toward changing the organizational culture. It’s all about setting high standards and holding employees to them. Give the Sheriff some time, if issues persist, I’ll be right there sounding the alarm.
Rick Kang says
Keystone Cops? No, but few very bad apples MUST be REMOVED!
Is it even legal to demand that a breathalyzer test be given to an employee and what value is it if results are routinely challenged and beat? Sounds like someone had a hard on for this guy and wasn’t going to give it up until he got results. This doesn’t all add up. The man apparently drove to work so I wouldn’t think he would need to hold on to the wall several hours later. The FCSO is full of drama…..why wasn’t this officer arrested for driving to work intoxicated, because he wasn’t a female?
Sarajane Stewart says
Please explain to me why only a suspension. If you showed up intoxicated at any other job it would be an automatic firing. He not only put himself in danger but also others. There is no reason this person should keep their job with the county.
Josh Davis says
Yet an arrest is made over a time card discrepancy. Where’s the press release? Where’s the “I’m committed to running a clean organization” rhetoric? No criminal charges filed? Does this not fit your media agenda? This was an employee at “The Green Roof Inn?” Vacancy!!! Nothing to see here. The sheep of this county will continue to eat the grass. You’ll see what he wants you to see. This was in JANUARY! Unreal. Please wake up Flagler County!
I want these supervisors and deputy fired, they should be kept from working anywhere in law enforcement as they all have ahown they do not posses what it takes to uphold the law with honor
Did I miss where it said HOW he got to work that day? Did he drive himself?
Cop is DUI says
I wonder. Does anyone else wonder how this legally intoxicated police officer got to work that day? If he drove drunk it must be addressed. Right?
in house says
Ok. What about the road deputy who was doing the same thing and worse? It’s funny how that never made the news!
It takes longer to change the culture of an organization that has either a strong union and/or seniority system behind it. Case in point is our education system in the country which has been on a decline for decades. The FCSO needs a good cleaning from bottom to top to remove the riffraff and put in people who are honest, trustworthy and choose to serve the people of this county versus being self-serving.
Oh, friends, Staly didn’t inherit this staff, this has been his staff for years. Staly has been in this county since 2013, as well, he was the undersheriff prior to sheriff, wasn’t he?
This is Staly’s leadership seeping out through his minions – think about this statement…really take it in…
“Sheriff Rick Staly, who’s made clear to his ranks that he has their back, but has made just as clear that he expects them to have his and the agency’s back”
If everyone did their jobs within policy & law then why do backs need to be had in the first place?
Just a suspension ??? What a joke, because he’s having problems with his ex fiancé, please… We all want to know how he got to work?? How many people lives were in jeopardy because of his actions in the jail and on the road.. Why not take the day off he had enough accumulated time ????
You all want to judge but have done the same thing at least once in your life. Law enforcement and military is an extremely stressful job with high depression, suicide and drinking rates. Instead of judging and acting high almighty like you all have never had a bad day or drank to much you try being kind to your fellow person and supportive. You never know what anyone is going through. Law enforcement is just a human, they can’t be perfect 24 7 for ever. They go through life like every one does. If this is his only disciplinary thing in 7 years then that’s not bad. Everyone here has a high horse they shouldn’t be on. Drama seems to be driving society now.. I guess none of you drink when you have a bad day. Perfect angles everywhere..
Higher Standard says
What unacceptable behavior! You are held to a higher standard than any other citizen. You would think after almost killing yourself on your motorcycle on the evening of July 4th a few years ago that you would consider to stop consuming alcohol. You tarnish the image of all the hard working and professional members of the Sheriff’s office who take their position seriously.
All he had to do was call in sick not jeopardize his colleagues , civilians . We are all under stress ….
Concerned Citizen says
I can assure you that I have never gone to work drunk nor do I drive drunk. The few times I have had something to drink I kept myself home because it was the sensible thing to do. If you can’t handle alcohol stay away from it. The whole you’ve done it to accusation doesn’t fly.
I’m with a lot of people on the how did Deputy Sousa get to work? Did he drive? If so that needs to be addressed because if it was you or I it would be a DUI charge. Can you even charge someone after the fact??
Deputy Sousa is a sworn law enforcement officer and as such should be held to higher standards at all times. You take an oath to do that job and when you violate it there should be consequences He could have easily called in sick and none of us would be here right now.
Mark Sousa did not make a mistake here. He made a poor choice. A mistake is turning right instead of left. He works in a high risk environment and his co workers and inmates rely on him for safety. If you have to drink to handle life problems then it’s time to realize that law enforcement is not the career for you.
I have never been to work drunk ,I have never drove a vehicle drunk.unfortuntanity cops are human, but they should act like robots while working, no opinions, no judgements, just do ur civil duty
Public and Private.
Had he been a union autoworker, teacher, etc. same treatment.
He was probably drunk when he totaled his motorcycle on Palm Harbor Parkway and they transported him to Halifax and not Flagler Hospital !!!
John dolan esq. says
TAKE NOTE HR listen to your employees they matter. Government jobs with their upper and lower echelon of authority but nobody wants to put it on the line. I have a noticed a pattern of people in these burn out jobs are abandoned after an otherwise good record, when they screw up. Humans LEARN by screwing up. Lets try and help an otherwise loyal employee not try to bury him when he makes a mistake.
So let’s say Deputy Sousa is having a great night and he saves an inmates life. His story comes out on Flaglerlive and y’all rave about what a hero he is. But then the next night he shows up to work with alcohol on his breath and it shows up on Flaglerlive…but the comments are vastly different. It’s be cause the yokels of Flagler County can’t wrap their minds around the fact that, uh, yeah…jail deputies are blood, bone, and flesh and they mess up like the rest of us. But that’s ok, hatred for law enforcement is so rampant in this country nowadays that it’s easy to yell “fire em!” I have not seen one person even suggest alcohol treatment, AA, other help. It was mostly negative. If Sousa worked at the tire center at WalMart and showed up intoxicated, it would not be “newsworthy” because after all, everyone loves tire mechanics right? Until they forget to put your lugnuts back on, your wheels fall off, your car crashes, and you die! It’s not important, unless someone messes up, or they’re underpaid jail deputies. Some people think alcoholism is a sickness, others think it’s a nasty habit. But a jail deputy should be entitled to treatment like anyone else. I would submit that the inmates at the Flagler County Jail probably have a higher availability of treatment than their keepers! I’d love to see if ANYONE would dispute this..
Law Enforcement is to be held to a higher standard. They get better retirement and other perks….if they can’t handle the heat in the kitchen–get out! It is insane to think that those who are held to a higher standard and arrest others for wrong doing can be excused for their own bad or poor behavior. This is why this is news worthy! If an officer doesn’t want their poor judgement to be news worthy then get a job at Walmart tire Center and stop sucking up our tax dollars for half assed performance. The office should be terminated!!!
Comparing a Jail Deputy(a person of power) to a tire mechanic at Wal-Mart clearly shows how out of touch some people’s rationale is. Where is the honor in police work these days? Being a police officer isn’t even close to one of the top dangerous jobs so to act like it’s a stressful job is a poor excuse
It doesn’t make a difference that he’s a detention officer , he should of called out of work .. He had more than enough time on the books.. He couldn’t perform at work and put everyone who works with him and the inmates in jeopardy.. Mark got off with a slap on the wrist.. I still can’t understand why it took so long for a supervisor to test him ..
Well an officer showing up to work in a position of authority (law enforcer) under the influence of drugs or alcohol should be held at a much higher accountability. How did he get to work??? I assumed he drove. Thats a D.U.I. but again its do as we say not as we do. This is a bunch of garbage. Staly wants to be the tough guy then be one step up citizens are watching you , and as far as i can tell. You are acting to be something your obviously not . Racist cop gets desk job, wow he gets to keep his benefits, woman tells of inappropriate behaviors looses job, officer goes to work drunk, suspended looses vacation time. What about public apologies, or even charges, or better yet send him to drug court. But no it looks like the green does no wrong anyone can get and were a badge they sell them everywhere. So in my opinion, show the badge some respect and hold these officers accountable. Treat them as any other how do you say??? O yeah any other scum bag of the week
Concerned citizen says
Sheriff This is food for thought ! How did Sousa get to work the morning in question ? I think there should be video of his entrance to the compound as well as witnesses. This should bring a DUI charge upon him . The oh poor me personal life not flying since I’m sure counseling is available to the department just for the high stress nature of the job and if this not the case the health and welfare benefits that are part of employment compensation should have provisions for mental health as well . This has got to stop and 0 tolerance for this should be the case. I would venture a guess to the fact that inside the very building he works in are many good people that have personal problems and could of used a little mercy
So let me get this straight FCSO Allows drunk driving as long as it is one of there own?! This guy drove to work drunk..