Sheriff Mina: Defunding law enforcement wouldn't work in Central Florida

While protesters and even some city leaders in Minneapolis and other large cities are asking to defund police in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Orange County Sheriff John Mina doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

"I think it makes absolutely no sense at all," Sheriff Mina said. "I talk to many citizens every single week and they want more police, more deputy sheriffs in their neighborhood."

The Orange County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) responds to over a million calls every year, according to Sheriff Mina. 

He says local history proves why defunding law enforcement is not something that would work here.

“So incidents like Pulse are a prime example of why agencies need the proper equipment and proper funding. There were items and equipment used at Pulse that saved many, many lives. Without the proper funding, without the proper equipment, many more lives could have been lost,” Sheriff Mina said.

The sheriff says he does believe there is a need to spend more money on social services.

“I certainly think there needs to be more funding for mental health for a variety of social services, for youth programs in our community, but I don’t think we should take away from law enforcement to do that,” Sheriff Mina said.   

Since George Floyd was killed two weeks ago, Sheriff Mina has been receiving emails from citizens and activists with suggestions for his agency. 

“We already have body-worn cameras. We already have policies that state we will give a warning before firing a weapon when practical. Many of the things they’re asking for are already in place at OCSO,” Sheriff Mina said.

He mentioned that his deputies are now required to intervene if they believe another deputy is using too much force. 

Sheriff Mina says he believes some things need to be regulated by agencies across the country. 

“I do think there needs to be some sort of federal standard on use of force. There needs to be a national database on officers, law enforcement who are de-certified,” Sheriff Mina said. 

Sheriff Mina told FOX 35 News that 1,000 people are moving to Orange County every month. 

He said he'll be asking for funding to add more deputies, and he’s looking at adding a few mental health experts to work alongside his deputies, too. 

“We’re providing crisis intervention training to all of our officers, plus we are looking at a model that will have deputies respond to those types of incidents with a mental health clinician,” Sheriff Mina said.