Editor’s Note: The Apopka Voice is running a series highlighting several key 2020 election categories and candidates running in the August 18, 2020 primary, and November 3, 2020 election. While not every category of office will be covered, we will be spotlighting candidates running in the following races in Orange County: Sheriff, Property Appraiser, and School Board Member District 7.
For the Orange County Sheriff race, there are six candidates who qualified to run: the incumbent, Orange County Sheriff John Mina, Democratic candidates Andrew Darling, Jose “Joe” Lopez, Eric L. McIntyre, and Darryl B. Sheppard, and Write-in candidate Tim Lucas Adams. Here is a brief snapshot of these candidates’ campaign finances as of August 12, 2020*:
Meet the candidates for Orange County Sheriff
Incumbent, Democratic Candidate:
John Mina: Total contributions received: $342,135.72; Total spent: $317,097.35; Cash on hand: $25,038.37
Andrew Darling: Total contributions received: $42,556.40; Total spent: $36,215.30; Cash on hand: $6,341.10
Jose “Joe” Lopez: Total contributions received: $71,278.17; Total spent: $63,496.11; Cash on hand: $7,782.06
Eric L. McIntyre: Total contributions received: $17,050.65; Total spent: $15,393.44; Cash on hand: $1,657.21
Darryl B. Sheppard: Total contributions received: $10,900.00; Total spent: $0.00; cash on hand: $10,900.00
Tim Lucas Adams: Total contributions received: $100.00; Total spent: $23.00; Cash on hand: $77.00
*Candidates financials were corrected on August 15, 2020 to reflect only contributions and expenses from 2019 – 2020 for the 2020 campaign
We reached out to all of the candidates and requested responses to six interview questions. The incumbent Sheriff Mina, and candidates Darling, McIntyre and Adams provided responses. The order in which the candidates profiles were published was determined by random drawing, resulting in Mina (1st), Adams (2nd), Darling (3rd), and McIntyre (4th).
Who is Eric L. McIntyre?
A native of Central Florida, Eric McIntyre grew up in the inner city of Downtown Orlando and knows what it is like to persevere and overcome socioeconomic challenges. He is a determined leader, driven to help others succeed. He has lived, worked, attended local schools, and raised his children here, and for over 35 years has been committed to public service as a volunteer, mentor, a sworn Law Enforcement Officer, Police Chief, and advocate, working tirelessly in neighborhoods to keep the community safe.
McIntyre graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice Administration, with honors, from Columbia College-Orlando. In 1991 he received his Associates of Science degree in Paralegal Studies, an American Bar Association approved degree, from Southern College-Orlando. Four years later, McIntyre became a Certified Law Enforcement Officer and began working in one of Orange County’s toughest neighborhood as a Patrol Deputy. Thrown right into protecting his community from the intense mix of gangs, prostitution, street-level drugs, robberies, shootings and violent crimes gave McIntyre a unique experience and view of what kind of leadership counts when dealing with the harshest of realities.
Propelled to continue learning and growing, McIntyre gained more hands-on experience and training at the Eatonville Police Department, excelling in the following areas:
➢ S.W.A.T. Operations
➢ Tactical Team Commander
➢ Hostage Negotiations
➢ Criminal Investigations Division Supervisor
➢ Agency Recruiting
➢ Public Information Officer
➢ Internal Affairs Investigator
➢ Reviewing and Changing Policy and Procedures
➢ Surveillance Techniques
➢ Search Warrants, and more.
McIntyre soon climbed the ranks and chain of command, advancing from Patrol Officer to Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Acting Captain, Interim Chief, to Chief of Police. He gained firsthand knowledge, training and experience investigating homicides, robberies, abuse of elderly cases, child abuse, sexual battery, fraud, economic crimes and more. He has worked on joint cases and initiatives with federal agencies that resulted in key arrests and seizures of wanted suspects.
At administrative hearings, McIntyre has represented firefighters, school board employees and law enforcement officers, representing both the rights of government as well as career service employees. His business acumen and skills as an entrepreneur and business owner, as well as wealth of law enforcement knowledge and experience, and administrative leadership abilities have routinely aided in his service advocating for the rights of all people.
One of his favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, is one McIntyre lives and breathes as a guide in his life and service to his community.
While law enforcement has been his mainstay, McIntyre has found time to serve the community in other ways as well, including but not limited to: serving as the Vice Chairman and Secretary of the Police Municipal Pension Trust Fund Board, representing Eatonville Police; Board Member of the Local Community Advisory Committee for the Neighborhood Center for Families; a volunteer and mentor with Orange County Public Schools; an Agency Liaison with Valencia College Criminal Justice Institute Advisory Board; as well as past Chairman, Vice Chair and Member of the Criminal Nuisance Abatement Board for the City of Orlando, and a previous volunteer and Intake / Outreach Interviewer with the Legal Aid Society, Orange County Bar Association (1990-1995).
McIntyre’s leadership capacities as a professional in law enforcement and as a community leader has earned him awards, including being the recipient of Valencia Community College’s prestigious Bridges to Success Award in 2019 for his commitment to the community.
This blend of law enforcement experience and heart for serving and protecting the community is seen in McIntyre’s campaign slogan, Your Community Your Voice and focuses on uniting the community through the shared goals of:
- Protecting the elderly and our children
- Addressing domestic violence
- Combating the current drug concerns, such as abuse of opioids and prescription medications
- Providing counseling and compensation to victims of criminal acts
- Providing adequate rehabilitation for addictions and treatment for mental health issues
McIntyre is surrounded by his supportive spouse, Carol, and a “joyous family of six children” (four who are now adults and two currently in high school), who participate in everything from attending law school, working hard, playing football, basketball, running track, dancing, and gymnastics. McIntyre makes note that his family is a “Christian oriented family with local ties within the community”. Uniting Orange County, for McIntyre, starts from the inside out – family, community, county – and he hopes he will be able to continue that work further as Sheriff.
Interview questions and McIntyre’s responses
If elected to this position, and if COVID-19 is still going strong, what would you do to make sure your vision for and effectiveness as a leader for and with the community stays on track and makes a difference?
“If COVID-19 is still going strong when I’m elected, the plans of reducing crimes such as homicides and other violent crimes will be a priority, together with providing protections for domestic violence victims, the elderly, and our children. I would continue in my vision, mission and goal in monitoring crime trends and implementing strategies to reduce crime and prevent crimes or criminal acts from occurring. Additionally, I would continue to move forward with my Community Policing Plan, which will allow for deputies to interact in the community, get to know the people, and allow for people to know them. Creating programs and activities for children is an all-encompassing goal that comes with community policing.
The short answer is crime and criminal activity, such as homicides and violent crimes against people, is and will continue to happen regardless of weather or a pandemic. Therefore the goal of keeping the public safe will be an ongoing process, which will be done cautiously so that everyone would be safe, citizens and deputies.”
What have you been doing that is unique to let voters know who you are and what you are about since campaigning during COVID-19 (mid-March to present)?
“In the beginning the basic steps were being taken, such as scheduling fundraisers, meet and greets, and gathering petitions, which was part of a grass roots campaign to inform the voters of who I am and what I stand for. However, when the social distancing mandates of COVID-19 were put in place, events had to be cancelled, and the grass roots petition drive was drastically minimized, which made meeting and informing voters of who I am, and of my platform, difficult. The unique things I have done have been using social media as a tool to allow for people to engage in conversation, and visit my website www.VoteforEric2020.com, where they would be able to learn about my leadership background, as well as the fact that I am a real person who has volunteered and mentored in the community, not a politician. Additionally, I relied on friends, and friends of friends to tell others about me.”
What has been a highlight during your experience running for this position?
“A highlight during my experience running for the position of Orange County Sheriff is community engagement, and the positive feedback of registered voters and citizens who express their enthusiasm that I am running for the position of sheriff. Another highlight is when an undecided voter emailed me and asked about my platform and what I stand for, and when I responded about protecting victims of domestic violence, and protecting the elderly and children, they began to tell their story of having been a victim, and responded that they would vote for me.”
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the Orange County Sheriff Office?
“The greatest challenge facing the Office of Orange County Sheriff is competitive pay for deputies who patrol more territory than a local officer, increasing morale with the Sheriff’s Office, and restoring trust between the community and law enforcement. However, with a positive mindset and a plan in place, the challenges will be easy to resolve and will transition smoothly.”
What is your #1 hope for Orange County that you would love to make a reality if elected?
“My number one hope for Orange County that I would love to make a reality when elected is that homicides and violent crimes against people in the community will be significantly minimized, and that the relationship between Law Enforcement and the community will be strengthened.”
What would you like to say to voters who have not decided who they will vote for yet?
“I want voters to visit my website: www.VoteforEric2020.com and learn about how well-rounded and down to earth of a leader and person I am, and to feel free to contact me via email or by phone to receive a direct response. I would like to say to the voters that, of the other candidates running for this position, I am the only candidate with law enforcement experience who has worked continuously with people in communities. I have volunteered, mentored, am a life-long resident of Orange County, and attended local schools. My campaign slogan is Your Community Your Voice, which means that your voice will be heard about the concerns within your community. Lastly, the voters should know that my platform is Making for a United Orange County, fighting for domestic violence victims, advocating for the elderly and children, making for safe neighborhoods, restoring the trust in the community, fighting to reduce drug use and abuse of prescription medications through rehabilitation, as well as advocating for the homeless, and being transparent within the Sheriff’s Department. Vote for Eric McIntyre on August 18, or early vote to avoid long lines.”
McIntyre shared the following in regard to endorsements, that he “has received endorsements from voters, citizens, pastors, friends and a notable media outlet, Otownfun.com. Candidate McIntyre recognizes that voters are the true endorsers at the polls, such as the people in the Apopka Community and other west Orange County communities, that have undoubtedly been overrun by homicides and serious violent crimes. Although endorsements would be nice, endorsements should be unconditional. As a candidate, I want the people of Orange County to know that “It’s Your Community and Your Voice” that counts. I aim to reduce crime, and the fear of crime, and make for a safer, united Orange County. I want people to realize that this August election is important and urge them to get out and vote.”
About the process: The Apopka Voice emailed the same six questions to all candidates running in the offices and positions outlined above, if their email address was listed. In cases where no email was provided, we left a voicemail requesting their email, and /or sent a message on Facebook requesting it if no phone number was provided. There were a few candidates that provided no contact information at all, or their voice mailbox was full. The response deadline was given equally to all candidates. Biographical information was pulled from the candidates campaign websites and / or Facebook page.