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Florida Sheriffs Association elects first African-American president

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Sheriffs Association has elected its first African-American president in the history of the law enforcement association.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings will lead the organization, which represents the 66 elected sheriffs in the state and the appointed public safety director in Miami-Dade County.

Demings, a native of Orlando who has been the Orange County sheriff since 2008, has recently been in the national spotlight with the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the death of a 2-year-old boy, who was killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World.

 “It is truly an honor to be the new president of FSA,” Demings said in a statement. “I am thrilled to serve as the leader of such a worthy organization, and I will not take this opportunity lightly.”

The Demings family has broken other leadership barriers. The sheriff’s wife, Valdez B. Demings, was the first police chief in the history of Orlando.

Sheriff Demings previously served as director of public safety for Orange County, overseeing the jail, the fire department and emergency operations. He is a graduate of Jones High School and has an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and an MBA from Orlando College.

Other members of the new FSA leadership team include Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson, vice president; Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, treasurer; and Alachua Sheriff Sadie Darnell, immediate past president.


Lloyd Dunkelberger is a Tallahassee-based political reporter and columnist; he most recently served as Tallahassee bureau chief for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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