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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Police union withdraws endorsement of Orange County Sheriff John Mina

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2020 at 4:07 PM

  • Photo courtesy Sheriff John Mina/Facebook
  • Sheriff John Mina
The Fraternal Order of Police voted on Tuesday to rescind their re-election endorsement for Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

This dramatic move comes in the wake of an internal survey recently conducted among union members in Orange County's FOP Lodge 93, which revealed low morale among officers and a lack of confidence in Mina.

According to the survey's 674 respondents: 73.1 percent say that morale is low or very low in the department, 67.3 percent believe Sheriff Mina has not followed through on campaign promises, 88.7 percent believe that the Sheriff’s Office would not support officers in use-of-force situations that received "public criticism," and 77.4 percent voted for FOP 93 to withdraw its endorsement of Sheriff Mina.

Mina is up for re-election in 2020. The Fraternal Order of Police had previously endorsed Mina's first run in 2018 but, as WFTV reports, the union will likely not endorse any candidate in 2021.

Mina released a statement following the FOP announcement:
I was disappointed to learn that the union rescinded its endorsement late last night. I understand that these are tough times in law enforcement – we are all feeling vilified because of the intense spotlight on law enforcement misconduct. … But I am the Sheriff of everyone in Orange County, and voters elected me to keep this community safe. I am accountable to them – and I am also accountable to all members of this agency. 
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to go through Mina's career of nearly three decades in law enforcement, or tenure as Sheriff and Orlando Police Chief, and conclude that he is a firebrand progressive police reformer.

This endorsement withdrawal may very well be related to policing-reform baby steps that OCSO is taking with their Citizen's Review Board reviewing OCSO's use of force policies and Mina's introduction of a “duty to intervene” policy when an officer witnesses one of their own using excessive force.

As local community activists' demands for police reform increase, and police unions come under scrutiny nationwide – remember the Brevard FOP president who invited officers from Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Buffalo 57 to work there because "we got your back" – the withdrawal of the FOP endorsement might even end up being a public-relations net positive for Mina.

The American public is openly critical of current policing tactics, institutionalized racism and inflated budgets. Hearing that nine out of 10 local deputies don't think their sheriff will protect them in an unpopular use-of-force violation is not a bad thing.

Thanks to the FOP, Mina gained political points without having to do anything at all.

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