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A VIEW OF OUR PAST

Flagler County was carved out of portions of southern St. Johns County and northern Volusia County in 1917.

Our county government today operates in the same format as it did in 1917 – a Home Rule form that was created by state legislators. As part of that government, the Office of Sheriff of Flagler County was established.

The first Sheriff to serve in that position was E. W. Johnston who was elected in 1917. Sheriff Johnston served in that post until 1925.

Johnston was followed by Sheriff Perry Hall who served only two years of his four-year term after being elected in 1925. Hall was the first Flagler County lawman and the only Flagler County Sheriff to be killed in the line of duty.

Hall was killed in the early morning hours of Aug. 25, 1927, when he was struck on the head with a bottle while attempting to arrest a suspected bootlegger.

A posse was formed and a search was mounted for Hall's assailant. Within four days, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office suffered another tragedy when Sheriff's Deputy George "Son" Durrance was killed in a case of mistaken identity.

Durrance was searching an area in St. Augustine for the murder suspect when he was shot by a night watchman at the post office where the search was being conducted. The watchman, mistook Durrance for a robber. The deputy sheriff was mortally wounded and died hours later after being taken to a St. Augustine hospital.

The Sheriff's Office was still reeling from the deaths when W.J. Williams was named as interim sheriff to finish out Hall's term in office. Williams served from 1927 to 1928.

In the countywide election in 1928, J.H. McKnight was elected to his first term in office. He served until 1933 when H.R. Whitaker who won a four-year term succeeded him in office.

McKnight served until 1937 and then E.W. Johnson, the county's first sheriff, was returned to office by Flagler County voters.

Johnson served until 1941 when Henry Wills was elected. Wills remained in office for eight years, leaving in 1953.

From 1953 on through 1965, Flagler County voters elected a succession of sheriffs. T.K. "Buddy" Knight served four years from 1953 to 1957.

Homer William Brooks served from 1957 to 1965 until he was felled by a heart attack in front of the Flagler County courthouse, months before his term in office expired.

Hammock resident and Sheriff's Deputy Hugh "Ace" Drummond served as interim sheriff until the November 1965 election.

In 1965, P.A. "Zip" Edmondson was elected to office and retained the seat for 15 years, retiring in 1980. During Sheriff Edmondson's term in office, ITT Community Development Corp., a subsidiary of ITT New York, began development of a massive residential community called "Palm Coast". This development would change the face and features of Flagler County.

In 1980, Dan Bennett was elected to the Sheriff's Office. He served three years of his four-year term after he was removed from office in 1983 by a 39 to 0 vote of the state senate.

J.M. "Buddy" Phillips was appointed by Gov. Bob Graham to serve in the interim until Graham appointed then-Flagler Beach Police Chief Robert McCarthy to fill Bennett's unexpired term.

McCarthy then ran for election to a full four-year term and won in 1983. He served in that post until 2000 when he was defeated in his re-election bid by Jim Manfre.

Manfre, J 2001-2004

Sheriff Manfre served four years as Sheriff before losing his re-election race to Donald W. Fleming in 2003.

Donald W

Sheriff Fleming assumed office in January 2004 and served two terms until he was defeated in his 2012 re-election bid for a third term by former Sheriff James L. Manfre.

About Us

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office has the solemn duty of serving and protecting the citizens of our great county.

Address: 1001 Justice Lane, Bunnell, FL 32110
Phone: (386) 437-4116 
Fax: (386) 586-4820