ORLANDO, Fla. — As the nation reacts to Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the death of George Floyd, Central Florida law enforcement officials are weighing in on the case as well.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon says he accepts the jury’s decision to find the former Minneapolis police officer guilty on all the charges he faced.
“I think from day one, in a way that we had never seen in our country, the leadership and law enforcement protested the actions that were taken against Mr. George Floyd,” Rolon says.
Chief Rolon says now-convicted murderer Derek Chauvin’s actions cast a shadow on the entire law enforcement profession.
“What’s happening 3,000 miles away is being applied to what may be happening in a community that has never experienced that level of concern,” Chief Rolon says. “The profession as a whole is not broken.”
Rolon says he and his team have to be relentless in their efforts to improve the image of law enforcement by earning and protecting public trust.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina agreed with Rolon.
In a statement, Mina described Chauvin’s actions as “indefensible, unexplainable, and criminal,” and echoed Rolon’s point that these incidents undermine the public trust in law enforcement they’ve tried to build. Mina goes on to say he hopes we can “move forward, together, in that spirit.”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted a statement saying, in part, “Justice and accountability prevailed,” while acknowledging there’s still work to be done.
“None of us is perfect, but we can strive for perfection. That’s how we will earn and maintain the public’s trust,” Chitwood said.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings- a 40-year veteran of law enforcement and once the county Sheriff himself- said he was pleased with the outcome.
“When officers cross the line and commit criminal acts, they must be prosecuted no differently than the people they serve,” Demings said.
When asked how the officers were reacting to the verdict, Chief Rolon says some might feel hurt. He says he believes the majority of his officers will agree with the verdict, but knows there will be some that don’t.
“We have to work on those who may feel that the actions that were taken that day were not improper, that they were just, as was not the case,” Rolon says.
Chief Rolon says the training the Orlando Police Department is getting today is better than it was in previous years, and is constantly improving.
He says he’ll continue to do everything in his power to continue creating connections with the community his officers serve.