In a surprise move, Orlando Police Chief Val Demings announced her retirement after leading the department less than four years, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Demings, 54, is being replaced by Deputy Chief Paul Rooney, who has been with the department since 1986. Rooney runs the Patrol Division, the department’s largest section with 432 employees.
It’s not clear why Demings has chosen to retire — she was not asked to leave — but she will take a month off while she weighs options. She didn’t rule out taking another law enforcement job — or even seeking political office. Demings has been credited with reducing violent crime and taking guns off the streets. She climbed through the ranks since serving as president of her class at the police academy, working in criminal investigations, intelligence, internal affairs, tactical operations and drug enforcement, among others. Mayor Buddy Dyer had called Demings’ historic, as the first woman to serve as police chief, and as an African American. Her husband, Jerry Demings, was elected Orange County Sheriff in 2008.