Flagler County Sheriff’s Operation Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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Sheriff Staly and deputies hosted members of the press, elected officials, and residents of Flagler County to show off the new operations center that has been built. They will be starting the move in process next week. This building is 51615 sq.ft., was built in 18months, and was contracted at $20 million dollars. This includes all furniture, cameras, and everything else you will see and read about in the building. The new operations center is designed to be expandable in the future, with room to add on an additional 10,000 sq. ft. on the South side of the building and an additional 20,000 sq. ft. on the North side of the building.

He started the tour by explaining the lobby is built with bullet resistant walls and glass. It is the public entrance for the FCSO. The lobby also doubles as a museum and a memorial to fallen heroes, past sheriffs and K-9’s. Off to the right, there is a large classroom area, that can be divided into two smaller classrooms/training rooms. There is also a catering room, (not a kitchen) with its own entrance to allow for caterers to come in and set up.

Off to the left of the public lobby area, there is a smaller waiting room for families oo victims. Just beyond that waiting room is an unmonitored interview room. This room is used for interviewing victims or families of victims. Just beyond that interview room are the victim advocate offices.

To the left of the training rooms and down a hallway you will find the restrooms available for the public, along with a door to Human Resources. HR has their own entrance to allow for ease of applications and the hiring process.

Behind the front lobby where the Public Service Officer is stationed is the records room. This room houses all of the paper files from older cases and historical cases that are not digitized. Modern and current records are digitized.

In the secured areas of the building we first come to the IT rooms. Starting in January, the Sheriff will be sharing these offices with Flagler County. After January, Sheriff Staly has obtained Inspire IT to handle the FCSO’s IT needs. They will supply 24/7 help desks and are based out of Tallahassee.

Evidence rooms are set up so that only the evidence techs and CSI’s are allowed entry to where the evidence is held and stored. Deputies will have nice new lockers to bag and tag and put their evidence in, and the CSI’s and evidence techs will retrieve the evidence from the back side of the locker. Attorneys wishing to view evidence will be shown to a room and a tech will bring the evidence in via a second secured door. This means evidence will now be that much more secure.

Evidence will be stored categorically, via digital, weapons, and narcotics. There is a refrigerator for cold evidence that must be kept cold. They have their own central air system to prevent foul smelling evidence from permeating the building.

There are processing labs for techs to analyze and process different kinds of evidence, along with a vehicle processing room, complete with a vehicle lift. This will allow for faster and easier processing of vehicle evidence. They also have all stainless steel cabinets for easy and quick clean up in order to prevent cross contamination of evidence.

There is a secured vestibule for suspects. They will enter the building through a secured door called the Sally Port, and be kept in a monitored waiting room. There is a bathroom in this area for suspects. There are three interview rooms, that will be monitored by camera. The cameras are not currently installed but are expected before end of year. The walls of the the three interview rooms are thick. They are all soundproofed. Everything in this secured area is able to be monitored by personnel in the observation room. This can be used by other detectives who wish to watch an interview or to monitor a suspect who has been left along in the interview rooms.

Staff has a central break room, and many of the different office areas have smaller break areas as well. This central break room has a sizeable pantry that can be stocked up during disasters when staff may need to hunker down.

Staff has their own entrance. This entrance does not have an elevator to the second floor. This is because Sheriff Staly wishes to promote a healthier lifestyle with his staff and they are encouraged to take the stairs.

There is a report writing room, so that deputies no longer have to write reports in their cars. They will be able to sit down and write their reports in a much nicer environment.

Training staff now have a set of offices with a small break area, along with a smaller training room, for smaller classes, videos, new hires, general orders, or learning computer systems.

The armory suite is where all of the spare weaponry will be stored. From rifles to handguns and tasers, and munitions. This will also be set up with work tables so that weaponry that needs repairs can be worked on.

Restrooms for both men and women are now equipped with lockers and showers. For the first time the sheriffs office will have showers in their bathrooms. This will be a welcomed addition for staff when they have to hunker down, like during hurricanes.  The bathrooms have a second exit that leads down a hallway into the gym. The gym will be partitioned into two parts, the equipment side and defensive training side.

Everything in the gym was donated by Dwayne Sizemore. He donated all but one piece of equipment when he closed his gym. The treadmill is the only piece of equipment they had to buy, and they bought it with funds donated specifically for exercise equipment. Four years ago Dwayne Sizemore donation the money for some exercise equipment and the FCSO was not able to use it until now. All of the windows in the gym will have the mirror film over them by the time they move in. The gym is dedicated to Deputy Homer Brooks who died from health complications during his service to the FCSO. This is to help remind staff the importance of staying healthy.

The is a control briefing room, although it will not be used daily. Deputies are able to get briefings digitally from their patrol cars.

The second floor is full of office space for many divisions, including Major Crimes, Special Investigations Unit (undercover), Crimes against Children, General Assignment (property crimes) district commanders, watch commander and more.

Digital forensics also has office space on the second floor. They have a work area and storage. They also get to boast of a faraday room. This is a room inside a room and it is lined with copper. This makes it impenetrable by digital criminals. Last he checked Sheriff Staly said no one in North or Central Florida has a faraday room.

Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) is currently housed in a small room in the courthouse. They currently operated 14 hours a day with one supervisor and 3 employees.  Their new work space for the RTCC includes an office for the supervisor and work space for up to four employees, with computers and monitors. Their conference room will also be equipped with monitors for disaster response. They can pull up camera footage from the schools, jail, and even body camera footage.

The seniors vs crimes division of volunteers has their own offices on the second floor. They are volunteers, and work to help get back money lost by seniors to scams. Since their founding they have gotten back 1 million dollars from scams.

The office of the sheriff has it’s own suite of rooms. There is a waiting area for the sheriff’s office, complete with a photo op background for awards and accommodations.  There are office for chief of staff, public affairs and community engagement in this area. Sheriff Staly’s executive assistance has her own office, leading into the sheriffs office. Staly made a point to state that the current office in this new building is the exact same size as the office from the old building and that was done on purpose.  The sheriff’s office has two new additions; a murphy bed and a shower in the bathroom. Sheriff Staly’s office is furnished with his own personally owned possessions.

His goal is to set the standard for law enforcement agencies.

The ribbon cutting ceremony had a few different speakers. Chairman Greg Hansen talked about the basics of the building, about how the sheriff operates currently out of many locations, and has still managed to reduce crime. He thanked all the staff that have helped pull this project off.

Ajax Construction operations Manager Lon  Newman said he was honored to be here, and thanked everyone who was present and all those who worked together to make this happen.

Susan Ganto the theme was team work, and that designing this building was balancing budget with needs.

Sheriff Staly spoke to the crowd mirroring much of what he said on the tour. He thanked everyone involved, Flagler County General Services, Flagler County IT, Flagler County Building Dep., City of Bunnell, and everyone else

They named the Street after the 1st sheriff in Flagler County, EW Johnston, yes he is related to our current tax collector. They choose 61 because Flagler is the 61st out of 67 Florida counties.

Two time capsules were buried; one to be opened in 2061, and the other to be opened in 2071.

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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