Family: Wife, Carol; six children
Education: Honors bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration, Columbia College; ABA approved associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies, Southern College - Orlando
Qualifications: Vice chairman and secretary of Police Municipal Pension Trust Fund Board (representing Eatonville police); past chairman and vice chair of Orlando’s Criminal Nuisance Abatement Board; board member for Local Community Advisory Committee at Neighborhood Center for Families; Orange County Public Schools volunteer/mentor/supporter; Valencia College Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board (agency liaison); 2019 recipient of Valencia College Bridges to Success Award; past volunteer for Legal Aid Society of Orange County Bar Association as intake and outreach interviewer; past intern at Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office
Why are you running for county sheriff?
The residents of Orange County deserve a proactive sheriff that will work diligently to reduce crime and the fear of violence. As a candidate for Orange County sheriff, my vision, mission and focus include protecting victims of domestic violence and crimes against the elderly and our children. The continued vision is to enhance community policing, allowing for more positive interactions with law enforcement and the public, in order to provide safety for neighborhoods and businesses, enforcing equality, restore public trust and provide transparency.
What qualities and skills would you bring to the position?
I would bring the quality and skills of at least 30 years of community involvement which includes but is limited to: working as a volunteer and mentor, as well as my real, down-to-earth life experience and experience as a S.W.A.T., tactical team commander, hostage negotiations, Criminal Investigations Division supervisor, agency recruiter, public information officer, internal affairs investigator, patrol officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, acting captain and interim chief to chief of police.
Why are you the best candidate?
I am the best candidate because I am the only candidate who has lived and worked continuously in communities and neighborhoods and who is actively working in the field as a law-enforcement officer daily. I see firsthand the disparities that residents and business owners are facing due to crime, violence, social injustice and economic inequalities. This places me at an advantage of knowing the root issues and effectively addressing them.
5. What are the three biggest needs of the Sheriff’s Office now, and how would you work to fill those needs?
No. 1, real positive and trustworthy leadership is needed. I would begin by listening to the concerns of the deputies and work together to build positive in-house relationships, because as a team, together everyone achieves more. No. 2, building positive relationships with the Orange County community — making for a united Orange County, considering the diversity of the county — by enhancing community policing. I would look to have deputies exit their vehicles and build relationships with the citizens and the children of the community and work together to have them more involved with community programs. No. 3, a big need is to reduce crime and the fear of crime in Orange County and the cities within the county. Safety of the public is important; therefore, I would evaluate the crime trends of homicides, violent crimes, crimes of persons and property and implement strategies of prevention and apprehension.
How should the Sheriff’s Office change or grow following the nationwide unrest caused by the death of George Floyd?
The Sheriff’s Office should be reviewing its use-of-force policy and banning the use of chokeholds. The Sheriff’s Office should also be looking at deputy accountability, requiring deputies to intervene when witnessing excessive-force incidents. I would look to implement more training and de-escalation techniques.
How can the Sheriff’s Office relationship with the community improve?
The Sheriff’s Office relationship with the community can improve with my campaign initiative of “Your Community-Your Voice,” which places deputies in the community actively engaging with residents and building positive relationships. The goal of “Your Community-Your Voice” is to provide residents with a platform for their voice to be heard on the issues going on in their community, and for law enforcement to respond appropriately.
As West Orange County continues to grow, how should the Sheriff’s Office change to accommodate that growth?
As West Orange County continues to grow, the Sheriff’s Office must change to accommodate diversity. As sheriff, I will structure the department to reflect the diverse community we serve.