Sheriff James L. Manfre has pledged, not only to continue the Citizen's Observer (C.O.P.) Division, but to expand and enhance the professionalism of the organization, adding additional programs and additional training for its volunteers. To that end, he has appointed Major Sonia Byrne as Director of the C.O.P. Program.
The "Mission" of the C.O.P. organization is to make the neighborhoods of Flagler County as safe and secure as possible. The C.O.P.s report all suspicious activity via vehicle radio and telephone to the Sheriff's Office. They aid when called upon by the Sheriff's Office and deputies in traffic control at accidents, parades, funeral escorts and other special details. They maintain radio contact with C.O.P. dispatchers, but are monitored by various zone patrol deputies. Since 2005, the C.O.P.s have worked approximately 260,000 hours, saving the county about $4,806,000. In 2012 they patrolled over 100,000 miles and worked 217 traffic crashes.
At the Palm Coast Precinct the C.O.P.'s duties consist of such things as manning the Precinct, fingerprinting, passing out information and gun licensing permits, filling requests for vacation house watches, dispatching the C.O.P. vehicles and handling phone calls. In most cases citizens coming into the Precinct will be greeted by a C.O.P., whose role it is to see that their concerns are properly channeled.
All new C.O.P.s go through 40 hours of training, consisting of both classroom and hands-on instruction, both in the Precinct and on the road, if they wish to patrol. Among the areas dealt with are communications, fingerprinting, patrols, special events, traffic control, report writing, funeral escort services and many other services provided to the community.