Donald Fleming sipped on a Coke. He had just ordered lunch: chicken tenders with honey mustard dipping sauce and a bowl of chili. No onions in the chili.
He was on a lunch break at Houligan’s at Destination Daytona, but that doesn't mean he could relax entirely. His phone rang, and he answered. It was a client. Fleming, the former Flagler County sheriff, is no longer fielding law enforcement calls, but he’s still always on call.
After a several months off, Fleming is back.
Two weeks ago Tuesday, Fleming launched Cobra Investigations and Security, a Palm Coast-based private investigative company that will serve Palm Coast, Flagler and Florida.
A new service he offers is a background check before a blind date. "Men and women get nervous about who they’re going to be dating from an online forum," he said. "They want to make sure they’re not a sex offender, not a former felon." So, they can hire Fleming to gather information.
He recently got his “C” license from the state, which allows him to legally operate as a private investigator. He also obtained his “A” license, since he has an office/agency. His office is located at 25 Old Kings Road N., Suite 8-B, in Palm Coast.
This isn’t the first time Fleming will be doing investigative work outside of law enforcement, though. He did some work for a friend while he was still living in New Jersey, and, upon moving to Palm Coast, he had a private investigative company before he was elected sheriff in 2003.
“I like working with people,” Fleming said Tuesday, as he took another sip of his Coke. “I’ve always done that in my 38 years in law enforcement, and a lot of people know me. I guess that’s a plus.”
Cobra Investigations and Security will cover attorney services, process serving, employment screenings, surveillance, personal injury, teen investigations and background searches.
Property managers can hire Cobra to investigate potential tenants. Or private companies could task Cobra with conducting background checks on prospective employees or trail an employee who claims to be injured and can’t work. Is the employee outside working in the yard or on the roof? Fleming can find out with some simple surveillance.
In just two weeks, Fleming has closed four cases. He’s working on closing a fifth.
Most of the cases — up to this point, at least — have been on the smaller side, Fleming said.
On a recent case, Fleming was hired to track down a man who owed money for child support. As a licensed private investigator with the state, Fleming was able to find the man by tapping into certain databases that others don't have access to.
“When you’re helping someone, it brings you back to the same focus I had when I was in law enforcement: If I help somebody and they’re happy with what I do, I feel good,” he said.
Fleming said he’s in the market to purchase some surveillance cameras to add to his repertoire.
Fleming is no longer the highest-ranking law enforcement official in Flagler County. But he’s still always on call.
And work never stops. After finishing the bowl of chili, Fleming ordered a cup of coffee. It was barely after noon, but he needed some energy for the second half of his day as he had phone calls to make for a case he’s working on out of Fort Lauderdale.
Contact Cobra Investigations and Security at 800-256-9603 or go to www.CobraInvestigationsFL.com.