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Master Deputy Crista Rainey of Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Recognized as the Florida Sheriffs Association’s 2022 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

The Florida Sheriffs Association is honored to announce that Master Deputy Crista Rainey of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has been selected as the 2022 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The award, which is proudly sponsored by FirstNet®, Built with AT&T, is presented annually at the FSA Summer Conference to commend an officer who has shown bravery, service, and honor in the line of duty.

“Master Deputy Rainey is an asset to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office as her efforts demonstrate and model the guardianship policing methodology our office demands for the community it serves,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly. “She demonstrates the strength necessary to overcome violent criminals while remaining positive and empathetic in cases where she needed to serve as a caretaker.”

Master Deputy Rainey began her career at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in 2015. Since then, she has become a leader on her patrol squad and in the Community Policing Department, is a member of the Crisis Negotiations Team, volunteers as the office’s Special Olympics Coordinator, and helps with the annual Surfer’s for Autism event.

Over the course of the past year, Master Deputy Rainey has played a key part in multiple crucial law enforcement operations. These include the capture of an armed murder suspect during a routine traffic stop and two successful life-saving events involving the same juvenile female.

In March of 2021, Master Deputy Rainey was conducting Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) enforcement on State Road 100 when she noticed a vehicle traveling above the posted speed limit. She subsequently conducted a traffic stop and made contact with the two occupants. During this interaction, she detected the odor of cannabis, and began a probable cause search. A struggle ensued when the front passenger was asked to exit the vehicle, and he refused to listen to Master Deputy Rainey’s lawful commands and kept grabbing at his waistline. Ultimately a taser was used, and the man was captured without further incident. After the man was secured, it was discovered he had a firearm concealed in his waistband. When the subject’s information was processed, the deputies also discovered there was an active warrant out for his arrest in correlation with a murder case in Georgia. Master Deputy Rainey’s actions in this instance helped remove an armed suspect from the streets, as well as assist the detectives assigned to the case in Georgia.

A few months following this incident, in June of 2021, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office responded to an address where a 17-year-old female was threatening to jump off the I-95 overpass. The deputies took immediately action to prevent a tragedy and Master Deputy Rainey began speaking with the female. She used crisis negotiation training to talk her down while the deputies secured her to the overpass. Once the Palm Coast Fire Department arrived with a ladder truck, Master Deputy Rainey ascended to the railing and brought the female down. Once on the ground, the two had a conversation until the female was calm enough to be transported. The girl was extremely grateful for Master Deputy Rainey’s empathy, and personally delivered a thank you card.

A month later, in July of 2021, Flagler Sheriff’s Office received a similar call: a juvenile female threatening to jump off of the I-95 overpass. With the memory of the last incident still in their minds, this call set off alarm bells for the responding deputies, which included Master Deputy Rainey. Now familiar with the girl, Master Deputy Rainey once again spoke with her to keep her calm while she was being secured to the ledge. Once the ladder truck arrived, she immediately took action and ascended to help bring the girl down.

Without Master Deputy Rainey’s efforts in these instances, they could have had a very different and tragic outcome. Using her crisis negotiation and interpersonal skills she prevented a troubled girl from taking her own life not once, but twice.

“The empathy and bravery displayed in these situations are inspirational, and exemplify the highest traditions of law enforcement,” said Steve Casey, Executive Director of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

Master Deputy Rainey’s heroic actions and dedication to service and protection distinguish her, and the Florida Sheriffs Association is proud to honor her as the 2022 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. For more information on this achievement, watch the official video: https://youtu.be/NWNNXjwfk4Y.  

 

From left to right: Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, Master Deputy Crista Rainey, Ryan Burchnell Director, FirstNet, and Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum

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About Florida Sheriffs Association
The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 3,000 business leaders and 100,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit www.dev.flsheriffs.org.

 

About FirstNet, Built with AT&T
FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T, in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. The FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it. These advanced capabilities help fire, EMS, and law enforcement save lives and protect their communities. Learn more at FirstNet.com.