Palm Coast People: A faithful public servant with a heart of gold

Flagler County Master Deputy Crista Rainey was named the 2022 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
Sheriff Rick Staly said when she received the award, “MD Rainey has been excelling in her career with the FCSO, and we are honored to have her as part of our team. With a track record for proactive enforcement, combined with her professional and positive attitude, she is very deserving of this award. We are proud of her commitment to keeping our community safe, and she exemplifies the role of a Florida Deputy Sheriff.
So how did Master Deputy Crista Rainey receive this award? As a child in New Jersey, she always dreamed about being a police officer. In an interview with Palm Coast Magazine, she said that she remembered her grandmother stitching together a police uniform for her. She said, “I went everywhere in that outfit.” She always felt called to be in law enforcement but couldn’t meet the age standards in New Jersey.
She had a childhood friend in New Jersey that moved to Florida well before she did. He always told her that she should come to Florida and become a police officer. After 40 years in New Jersey, she took his advice and left her friends, family, and everything to follow her dream of becoming a deputy.
Now, she’s with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and couldn’t be happier. MD Rainey said, “I picked up my whole life to do something I dreamed about as a kid. I’m doing what I love, and I enjoy doing what I love.”
She told the story of a routine traffic stop that turned violent and led to the arrest of a wanted criminal on the run from Georgia law enforcement. Other officers said that she handled the situation calmly and effectively. She said that she “couldn’t have done it without them.”
She also told the story about a teenage girl that the Crisis Negotiation Team saved from jumping off the overpass of Interstate 95. The team worked to literally talk his girl off the ledge and bring her down safely. Unfortunately, the troubled girl didn’t want salvation in the moment, but Rainey said the team worked together seamlessly to protect the girl. She said, “It was like the whole team knew the plan already, and none of us had spoken a word!”
After saving the girl the first time, the Crisis Negotiation Team had to save her nearly two months later. Because of her actions, a family in Georgia received justice for their loved one, and a girl was saved twice from suicide. MD Crista Rainey is the example of a true law enforcement officer and public servant.
MD Rainey tells herself daily, “I am a cop in this beautiful state. This is my dream, and I am happy.” She attributes everything she now has in life because of the choice to move to Florida and follow her dreams. MD Rainey finished the interview with these inspiring words for others: Don’t limit yourself. Do what you want to do with your life. Never be afraid to bet on yourself and follow your passion.
— Joseph Cogswell