FLAGLER BEACH – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has demoted now ex-Sergeant Michael Breckwoldt following an investigation into his conduct at a local bar in May 2023. Breckwoldt has lost his position of sergeant, and will see a hefty pay decrease along with the demotion.
According to police, on the night of May 25th and early morning of May 26th, 2023, Breckwoldt was a patron at Finn’s Beachside Pub on the corner of A1A and SR-100 in Flagler Beach. He reportedly got into an altercation with another patron in which he attempted to leverage his FCSO job in order to have drinks bought for him, and in which he battered the other patron.
The Flagler Beach Police Department discovered Breckwoldt passed out on the ground outside Finn’s, and the other patron from the bar recounted their story of what had happened. They did not arrest Breckwoldt, and a further investigation by FBPD Detective Rosanna Vinci did not find criminal wrongdoing. Still, Breckwoldt was placed on administrative reassignment at the FCSO as an internal investigation was conducted.
The FCSO’s criminal investigation concluded last month, leading to no criminal charges. However, the agency announced on Tuesday that a series of actions would be taken against Breckwoldt. Namely:
- A demotion from the rank of sergeant to the rank of corporal within the FCSO’s Major Crime Unit.
- A reduction of $5,792.14 in Breckwoldt’s annual pay.
- 18 months’ disciplinary probation.
- A last chance agreement signed by Breckwoldt stipulating that any violation during his 18-month probation will result in termination without appeal.
- The loss of take-home privileges for Breckwoldt’s agency vehicle for 6 months, except for when he’s on-call.
- A mandatory meeting with Sheriff Rick Staly regarding the situation.
The corporal position with the FCSO’s Major Crime Unit was an already-vacant position, and a statement from the FCSO indicated that Breckwoldt’s career experience was taken into consideration for his reassignment. While the investigation was underway, Breckwoldt underwent and passed a one-month treatment program, and a FCSO fitness-for-duty evaluation carried out by the agency’s independent healthcare provider.
“It is my responsibility to protect the public’s trust in our agency,” said Sheriff Rick Staly in the FCSO’s statement. “I was extremely disappointed to learn of Breckwoldt’s behavior while off-duty that tarnished the image of our hard-working men and women of the Sheriff’s Office and the public image of our agency. But I also recognize that alcohol abuse occurs in the law enforcement profession caused by the many stresses of the profession and the human violence law enforcement officers often see and deal with on a daily basis.
The FCSO’s release also made note of Breckwoldt’s almost 30 commendations in a 20-year career with them. His most recent employee evaluation gave him an ‘excellent’ rating, though this was before the incident at Finn’s.
“Sometimes, employees make the wrong choices to cope with the stress of law enforcement despite the available resources and resiliency programs made available,” Staly continued. “I’m glad to see that he is committed to his treatment program and was cooperative and apologetic and we wish him success. However, if any future violation occurs, his employment will be terminated.”
Images of Breckwoldt are embargoed by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to protect his safety, due to a recent undercover narcotics operation he participated in.