Police union rescinds endorsement of Orange County Sheriff John Mina after survey reports low morale

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Fraternal Order of Police voted Tuesday to withdraw their endorsement for Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

The union recently handed out a survey to deputies, and said a large majority reported that morale is low, and that they don’t think the sheriff lived up to his promises made during the first campaign.

In June 2018, the union endorsed then-Orlando Police Chief John Mina for Orange County Sheriff. Mina is up for election again this year.

READ: ‘Don’t forget us, protect us’: Orlando police officers sound off in survey about their chief, department

“The workers are always going to work, and those who don’t want to work are going to use something like that as an excuse,” Mina said. “Again, I would love their endorsement, but if not I’m going to continue to work hard.”

The 16-question survey was sent out to more than 1,000 deputies. The survey found that 88.7% of them believe that the sheriff's office would not support them if they were involved in a use of force situation that was in accordance with policy, if the situation received public criticism.

Of those who responded, 73.1% said that morale is low or very low.

A total of 77.4% said they believe that the union should withdraw its endorsement of Mina.

67.3% said they believe Mina has not delivered or gone against his campaign promises.

READ: Union takes issue with Orange County Sheriff’s Office change to use-of-force policy

“If you would survey any law enforcement agency in the United States, they’re feeling a little dejected,” Mina said. “They’re upset with me about some harsh discipline and about the appearance of not backing some of them in some excessive use of force cases.”

Eyewitness News has learned it’s unlikely the FOP will endorse anyone else for sheriff.

Mina released the following statement after the union’s 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“I was disappointed to learn that the union rescinded its endorsement late last night.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.

I value and respect our deputies and all of their hard work. They risk their lives every day, doing one of the most difficult and complex jobs in the world. And they are some of the best law enforcement has to offer.

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.

The changes I have already instituted at the Sheriff’s Office might have been the impetus for the union’s decision to pull its endorsement by a vote of 50 members. If that’s the case, I accept that. I have made some difficult decisions and have levied harsh discipline for policy violations. I have terminated deputies for excessive force or for breaking the law.

I will continue the work of finding common ground with members of our community who are pleading for change. But I want everyone at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to know that I am extremely proud of the work they do. My door is always open to them and I am willing to have any discussions, even difficult ones.”

Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.