Val Demings

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Val Demings
Democratic nominee for
U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 10th district
Election date
November 6, 2012
Opponent(s) Daniel Webster
Personal details
Born Valdez Venita Butler
1957 (age 57–58)
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Florida State University
Occupation police officer

Val Demings (born Valdez Venita Butler in 1957) is a police officer and politician from Florida. She served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. She was the Democratic nominee in 2012 to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.

Early life[edit]

Demings was one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked in orange groves, while her mother was a housekeeper. They lived in Mandarin, a neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended segregated schools in the 1960s, graduating from Wolfson High School in the 1970s.[1]

Her desire for a career in law enforcement came when Demings served in the "school patrol" at Dupont Junior High School. She graduated from Samuel W. Wolfson High School, and then attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.[1]


After graduating from college, Demings worked as a social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months.[1][2] In 1983, she applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), and she began with the department on patrol in Orlando's west side.[1]

Demings was appointed as Chief of the OPD in December 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.[3] As Chief, she was credited with reducing violent crime in Orlando. She retired from the position effective June 1, 2011, after serving with the OPD for 27 years.[4]

Political career[edit]

Demings was the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida's 10th congressional district in 2012.[5] Her attempt to unseat the incumbent, Republican Daniel Webster, was unsuccessful.[6]

Democrats have attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014.[7] After considering her options, she decided to run for Mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs.,[8] but she dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.[9]


Her husband, Jerry Demings, is the Orange County Sheriff.[4] Previously, he served as the Chief of the OPD, the first African American to do so, from 1999 through 2002.[1][2] The two met while on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Val Demings takes over as Orlando's police chief Monday – Orlando Sentinel". December 16, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Married cops to head next-door agencies – US news – Life | NBC News". MSNBC. January 25, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Val Demings' retirement opinion: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring – Orlando Sentinel". May 5, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Schlueb, Mark (May 3, 2011). "Orlando Police Chief Val Demings retiring: Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is retiring – Orlando Sentinel". Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  5. ^ Green, Merissa (October 1, 2012). "Rep. Daniel Webster Challenged By Val Demings, Ex-Chief of Police". The Ledger. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ Schlueb, Mark (November 6, 2012). "Dan Webster beats Val Demings, wins second term". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ David Damron 4:00 p.m. EDT, October 7, 2013 (October 7, 2013). "Demings still undecided on next political move". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ Powers, Scott (January 7, 2014). "Val Demings takes on Teresa Jacobs for Orange County Mayor". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ [1]

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