The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) is a proud recipient of the 2023 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Program Federal Grant of $354,896 to address and combat hate crimes committed in Flagler County.

Since Sheriff Rick Staly took office in 2017, there have only been four reported hate crime cases in Flagler County (one in 2018 and three in 2022). FCSO is taking proactive steps to ensure hate crimes continue to stay out of Flagler County. To fight hate crimes before they happen, FCSO will utilize this award to expand its existing Targeted Violence Prevention Program (TVPP) over a 4-year period. The expansion would include supplies, overtime, software, training, and new technology to improve the agency’s monitoring and reporting capabilities of potential hate crimes and targeted violence before they occur.

“Flagler County was the last county in Florida to desegregate its schools. Today, there is no room for hate in our community,” stated Sheriff Staly. “Our deputies are already on alert for any biased-based criminals and threats and our agency works hard to prevent targeted violence against anyone in our community and will not be tolerated. With this grant, we will be even more equipped to effectively monitor and prevent hate crimes to protect everyone in Flagler County. Since FY2020-2021, FCSO has received over 3.7 million dollars in grants to enhance and improve services to our community and inmates in the jail.”

The National Crime Victimization Survey and the FBI Hate Crime Statistics Program use the definition established by the Hate Crime Statistics Act (28 U.S.C. § 534). The Act defines hate crimes as “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.”

The Federal Grant was provided through the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). The funds are awarded to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, prosecution agencies, and their partners to improve the agencies’ outreach and educational tools. The grant is also meant to enhance victim reporting tools and fund the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes committed based on a victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.

If you or anyone you know is the victim of a hate crime, please call the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office at 386-313-4911 to report or call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). Always remember, if you ‘See Something, Say Something.’