The youngest of seven children, Val Demings was raised to believe she could achieve anything if she put her mind to it. After graduating from Jacksonville’s public schools, Demings received a B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Webster University. Demings spent her early career as a Social Worker focused on foster care, and then joined the police force in Orlando.
Demings was President of her class at the police academy, and then earned a reputation as a tenacious, no-nonsense cop. After serving in the Criminal Investigations Division, Internal Affairs and other departments, she was tapped to serve as the Commander of the Special Operations. There, she was responsible for some of Orlando’s highest profile tasks, including special events, dignitary protection, and K-9 units.
In 2007, Demings was selected to serve as Chief for the Orlando Police Department – the first woman to ever hold that position. Upon taking office, she launched an all-out war against crime. Her tenure was marked by a dramatic forty percent reduction in violent crime, including robberies, shootings and murders. Under her bold and aggressive leadership, thousands of guns were removed from Orlando’s streets, and communities became safer.
After twenty-seven years at the Orlando Police Department, including three and a half years as the department’s top cop, Demings decided to retire from the force and continue her commitment to public service in another way. Demings will work to end the petty, partisan quarrelling in Washington and make the American dream a reality for the hard-working families of the Orlando area.
Demings’ husband Jerry is also a respected leader in Orlando law enforcement, and is currently serving as the Sheriff of surrounding Orange County. The mother of three sons and an active motorcyclist, Val Demings is committed to her family, her church and her community. She is also a role model to young women in the Orlando area.