Florida Police Chiefs Association backs John Mina in Orange County sheriff race

John Mina

Florida police chiefs are backing one of their own, Orlando’s John Mina, in the election for Orange County Sheriff, calling him a role model in law enforcement.

The Flordia Police Chiefs Association, which represents more than 900 of the state’s top law enforcement executives, backed Mina over former Florida Highway Patrol Chief Jose “Joe” Lopez and Darryl Sheppard, according to a new release issued Thursday by Mina’s campaign.

In backing Mina, the police chiefs’ group referenced his leadership during and after the 2016 massacre of 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. That year the organization awarded Mina its top declaration, the “Outstanding Chief Executive Award.”

“Chief John Mina has been tested in a way no police chief should ever have to be tested during the Pulse tragedy and its aftermath,” FPCA Executive Director Amy Mercer stated in the release. “His professionalism and steady hand showed what kind of leader he is. In those moments of doubt, John Mina and the Orlando Police Department served as the rock the community needed to find peace and feel safe again.

“Mina is recognized as a role model in law enforcement for the community policing standards Orlando implemented to build stronger relationships between officers and the communities they serve,” Mercer added. “The FPCA is proud to endorse John Mina for Orange County sheriff.”

FPCA serves municipal police departments, airport police, college and university police, and tribal police, private business and security firms, as well as federal, state and county law enforcement agencies.

The Orange County sheriff election and office are partisan, but partisan distinctions are complicated this year. Both Mina and Lopez changed their party affiliations from Republican to Democrat in 2017, but they each did so too late to qualify to run for office this year as Democrats. So both are running as independents. Sheppard then won the Democratic nomination by default. No Republicans are running this year.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association is one of the most respected law enforcement organizations in the United States. To be endorsed by the great men and women who make up the FPCA is an honor,” Mina stated in the release. “As the next sheriff of Orange County, I will continue to uphold the ideals and professionalism of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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