Last week, three Democrats representing Central Florida in Congress announced the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will send $3.75 million to help law enforcement efforts in that area.
U.S. Reps. Val Demings, D-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Darren Soto, D-Fla., weighed in on the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program sending $2.5 million to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to hire 20 new officers and $1.25 million to Orlando so that city can hire 10 new officers.
Demings, the former chief of the Orlando Police Department (OPD), weighed in on the funds on Thursday.
“As public servants, we have an obligation to provide safe neighborhoods for all persons. As a former OPD chief, I saw a simple equation: to have safe communities, we need to devote resources to protect them. Law enforcement agencies must have staffing and resources to put law enforcement officers where they’re needed most. This federal grant, which will fund 30 new police officers in our community, is an important step to ensure that every neighborhood in Central Florida is safer,” Val Demings, the wife of former Orange County Sheriff and current Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, said.
“We owe our law enforcement officers a debt of gratitude for putting their lives on the line to protect us. That’s why I’ve fought to ensure federal programs that support good and hardworking law enforcement officers receive the funding they need to keep Central Florida safe. I’m particularly proud to have backed this successful grant application so that Central Florida can hire and train 30 new police officers who will be focused on building stronger ties to groups within our community and prioritize de-escalation techniques. I’ll continue to support the brave men and women whose job it is to protect and serve all Central Floridians,” said Murphy.
Demings enjoyed some national attention this year as she was considered by former Vice President Joe Biden to be added to this year’s Democratic presidential ticket. Attorney and Republican leader Vennia Francois and write-in candidate Sufiyah Yasmine are challenging Demings in November though the incumbent is the heavy favorite in the solidly Democratic Central Florida district.
Representing all of Osceola County and parts of Orange and Polk Counties, Soto sits in what is considered a secure district for Democrats. He faces Army veteran Bill Olson, the Republican nominee, and write-in candidate Clay Hill in November.
Murphy is in a far more competitive race than Demings and Soto. She faces Dr. Leo Valentin, a physician and the Republican nominee, and businessman Bill Garlington who is running with no party affiliation.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.