Sheriff touts arrest stats, plans new units, issues warnings about drugs, gangs
Arrests are increasing. Crime is decreasing. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has implemented programs to help inmates at the county jail learn job skills and earn GEDs, and has installed automatic license plate readers that have nabbed vehicle thieves and helped locate missing persons.
Addressing a crowd of about 50 people, including numerous local officials, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Coast the afternoon of April 18 for his annual Addressing Crime Together meeting, Sheriff Rick Staly highlighted such accomplishments over the past year, pointing to figures and charts tracking crime, arrest and prosecution trends.
“If they’re in the Green Roof Inn, they are not preying on you; it’s pretty simple,” Staly said. “So with a motivated team and focusing on the people that are doing the crime, that’s why the arrests are up,” even as crime decreases.
FCSO PLANS FOR 2019
But Staly also pointed out areas of concern: There’s enough cyber crime that the agency is planning a new unit dedicated to tackling it.
A group of drug dealers is trying to control the market centered around Palatka, Bunnell, Palm Coast and Daytona, selling drugs that are coming out of Orlando.
Locals who’d been imprisoned over crimes involving the Bloods gang have been getting out of prison and returning to the community.
Deputies, dealing with overdoses, are seeing stronger opioid cocktails on the street, and increasingly have to use more than one dose of Narcan to revive an overdose victim.
Staly said his agency is creating several new units — an Intelligence Unit, a Cold Case Unit and a Cyber Crimes Unit – to deal with those issues.
Residents who attended the meeting said they were generally satisfied with Staly’s approach.
Edmond Rover, a W-Section resident who recently moved to Palm Coast from Sebring, said he’d attended in part because of general concern about youth crime and gangs. And, he said, “I wanted to know what kind of units they have. … I hope that have enough units to do all this stuff.”
Marilyn Deynes, a Palm Coast resident, said she had concerns about how crime and policing will be affected as the county’s population grows.
But, she said, “Sheriff Staly is basically on it when it comes to crime.”
See the box below for some of Staly’s comments on major issues facing the community.
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Photo by Jonathan Simmons, Palm Coast Observer