Jerry L. Demings (born June 12, 1959) is an American law enforcement officer who serves as the Sheriff of Orange County, Florida, having first been elected in 2008. A Democrat, he is a former Chief of the Orlando Police Department and Director of Public Safety for Orange County.
Early life and education
Demings was born and raised in Orange County, Florida, the youngest of five children. His father was a taxi driver and his mother a homemaker. He graduated from Jones High School in Orlando and later attended Florida State University and Everest College, earning a bachelor's degree in finance and master's degree in business administration. He also has a certificates of completion from Harvard University's JFK School of Government, FBI National Academy and FBI National Executive Institute .
Demings joined the Orlando Police Department in 1981 after certification from the J. C. Stone Memorial Police Academy. He worked in the department as a detective before he became its first African-American chief in 1998, serving until his retirement after 21 years with the department in 2002. In 2002, he was named Director of Public Safety for Orange County, a position in which he served until 2008. In 2008, Demings ran as the Democratic candidate for Sheriff of Orange County, Florida, the chief law enforcement officer of the county. He defeated his Republican challenger John B. Tegg III, and became the first African-American to serve in the post. Demings was re-elected in 2012, and again in 2016. In July 2016, Demings was elected as president of the Florida Sheriffs' Association.
Demings is married to Valdez "Val" Butler, whom he met during his early years with the Orlando Police Department while he was a detective and she was a first-year police officer. They married in 1988 and have three children along with five grandchildren. His wife served as a captain in the police department while he was chief, and later went on to become the first female police chief of the Orlando Police Department, serving from 2007 to 2011. She was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2016.