Flagler County honored Daniel Weaver by naming him Deputy of the Year, at a May 14 ceremony.
Thirty minutes into his patrol, 28-year-old Daniel Weaver — Flagler County’s Deputy of the Year — taps the steering wheel and says it’s rare he hasn’t gotten any calls from dispatch yet.
He surveys the city outside his windshield, a familiar streak of summer, sundown and home. It’s 6 p.m., and his shift is just beginning — he’ll ride till morning, patrolling the P-section, a strip he likes because it puts him right in the center of everything. Right in the center of “the action.”
Along with its neighbors, the R- and W-sections, Weaver’s zone is the most crime-heavy area in Palm Coast. On average, he answers about 20 calls per day, from fraud and shoplifting cases to breakins, active warrants, domestics and traffic stops.
He says sometimes that number spikes to 50.
“It was a great honor,” he said of being ranked Flagler County’s top deputy. “I was shocked.”
He was nominated anonymously — his coworkers and supervisor won’t tell him who submitted his name for consideration. His record was evaluated, and he was chosen by a board of directors and honored May 14 with a glass star he keeps displayed in his home.
It’s almost night now, and Weaver glances to the laptop rigged on the patroller’s center console. He scrolls through a system that shows which deputies are out, what they’re doing, what calls are active, their incident types and respective priority levels.
Last year Palm Coast recorded 100,000 calls for service, he says, which was an “explosion” compared to the usual 60,000-70,000 it was used to before 2009.
“I like dope,” he says, turning down a Bell Terre side street. “I like finding drugs. That’s my niche. That’s what I like to find, because that’s usually connected to everything else.”
In 2010, he was recognized for a high-profile narcotics bust. On top of the backpack full of pills the perpetrator was carrying in his car, it turned out he was also wanted for multiple armed robberies. Weaver recovered the felon’s gun, as well, all because he stopped him for running a stop sign.
“I get a lot of good felonies from minor traffic violations,” he says, which is why he makes sure to stay brushed up on case law and recent state rulings.
He once checked out a house because a van was left running in its driveway — a petty misdemeanor. When the door was opened, he was hit with a plume of marijuana smoke and ended up finding 106 pot plants inside.
Shutting down that grow house is his biggest bust to date.
“Police work is 99% boredom and 1% terror,” he says, later revising the breakdown to 95% “usual” and 5% “excitement.”
He was once punched in the face by a perpetrator and had to chase him through the woods. But not all calls are war stories.
He laughs about stories that have come in from parents whose kids won’t get up for school, or won’t do their chores: “We respond to every call.”
“Oh, that guy just blew the light!” he says, flipping on and off the siren and following a crimson Mustang onto the shoulder to issue a verbal warning. He usually gives warnings, not tickets, so he can get back to hunting drugs on the street.
“I like to actively search for stuff, love locking up bad guys,” he says, pointing out another driver, on the opposite side of the parkway, driving a white truck and not wearing his seatbelt. “If you just respond to calls, you’re never gonna find that big score.”
He slows and cuts through Belle Terre’s median, spinning the wheel and craning his neck to the side to ensure that his way is clear.
“Let’s see if we can catch up to this one,” he says, his car screaming back.
Contact Mike Cavaliere at [email protected].