Who is Jerry Demings, Orange County’s first African American mayor?

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Jerry L. Demings was born June 12, 1959, in Orlando, Florida.

The son of a taxi driver and a housekeeper, Demings is the youngest of five children, by virtue of being born 30 minutes after his twin brother.

Demings, along with his brother, graduated from Jones High School in 1977 before attending Florida State University.

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There, he graduated with a degree in finance and accounting before earning his master’s degree in business administration from Everest College.

After graduation, Demings’ journey into law enforcement began while he was working for an accounting firm in Orlando.

The FBI, looking to combat white-collar crime, was recruiting accountants and people with financial backgrounds.

After Demings applied to be a bank examiner with the FDIC, an FBI recruiter suggested he add some law enforcement experience to his credentials.

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Demings joined the Orlando Police department in 1981 after graduating from the J.C. Stone Memorial Police Academy.

What started out as a stepping stone to an FBI job would turn into a 21-year-long career as he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Orlando’s first Black chief of police in 1998.

After his retirement from the department in 2002, he was appointed director of public safety for Orange County, a position he held until 2008.

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In 2008, Demings made history again when was elected as the first African-American sheriff of Orange County.

He would be reelected twice more before achieving another first on Dec. 4, 2018, when he was sworn in as the first African-American mayor of Orange County.

Demings and his wife, Congresswoman Val Demings, have three sons and five grandchildren.

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Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.