Dan Newlin Throws Big Splash for Jerry Demings
l-r: Orlando Magic alumni Nick Anderson, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Attorney Dan Newlin share a moment at fundraiser reception at the Law Offices of Dan Newlin and Partners, June 28, 2010 (Photo: WONO/106Foto)
A section of the gathering listens to Orange County Sheriff Demings make remarks at fundraiser reception, June 28, 2012 (Photo: WONO/106Foto)
Orange County Sheriff Demings (l) Attorney Dan Newlin (r) at fundraising reception at the Law Offices of Dan Newlin and Partners, June 28, 2012 (Photo: WONO/106Foto)
More than 50 local residents — mostly deep pocket — attended a fundraising reception Thursday for Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings who is seeking re-election for a second term to that office.
The event, sponsored by famed attorney Dan Newlin and Orlando Magic alumni Nick Anderson took place at the swanky new Law Offices of Attorney Dan Newlin & Partners at 7335 Sandlake Road in Orlando.
Awaiting remarks from Demings, attendees sipped wine, nibbled on hors d’oeuvres and chatted, while looking out onto a vista of Spring Lake from floor to ceiling glass windows.
Newlin opened his introduction of Demings by saying, “We have a Sheriff that has done an amazing job in protecting us and making a real difference in Orange County.” Newlin also remarked that Demings has been a personal supporter through some difficult times.
Demings, who has held the position of Orange County Sheriff for close to four years and in law enforcement for some 31 years said, he is running on his record.
“I am going to run on my record – the people in Orange County have seen me here working, toiling in the field for years now,” he said. “I should be well-known to the people unless they are new to the area.”
Demings said his report card would show that, overall crime in Orange County has come down by 23.2 percent and violent crime has dropped by 28.2 percent during the period he has led the Sheriff’s Office. He has also been a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars, returning millions to the coffers of Orange County, despite declining budgets yearly.
While acknowledging more remains to be done in reducing crime further, Demings said: “When I police, I police with the attitude – and I want every deputy sheriff to police with the same attitude – that if they can keep this community safe for their families, it should be good enough for your family.”
Demings, who has a long and distinguished track record in law enforcement, offered a brief snapshot of his career: initially a patrol officer; City of Orlando’s first African-American Chief of Police from 1998 -2002; Orange County Director of Public Safety who oversaw three major hurricanes and was later tapped to respond to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 on account of his emergency management abilities, and his election as the 28th Orange County Sheriff in 2008.
“I know how to do what I do because of the experience that I have …there is no substitute for training or experience,” he said. “…If you put the wrong person in office, you are potentially putting people’s lives at stake because of the very decisions that I make each day.” Demings added that he understands the breath of the business because he has done everyone of the jobs in the organization.
For those less familiar, Demings talked about his family and related a personal story as to how he became involved in law enforcement. After an older brother died from being hooked on crack and cocaine, it became his personal ambition to “rid the streets of Orange County and Orlando of drugs,” he said.
Demings faces a Democratic primary election on August 14, but said he is confident that his record should propel him to the general election and then on to victory on November 6.
Asked what led to his defeat by one of his opponents in a recent straw poll on Orange County’s east side, Demings said, he doesn’t put much store on straw polls as they are not well representative of the people of Orange County and are generally put on by politicians and their supporters.
Demings who didn’t win any of the straw polls in 2008, won the election easily back then with 56 percent of the popular vote.
“It (the straw poll) doesn’t concern me at all. I am looking forward to winning when the vote really counts at the real polling places,” he said.