Sheriff John Mina says reduction of violent crime is his top priority

Orange County sheriff talks texting, guns and CFIX in sweeping interview


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Newly elected Orange County Sheriff John Mina told News 6 the recent wave of shootings in the county is a reminder that violent crime has to be his No. 1 priority during his first 100 days in office.

“I’m putting my own spin on things,” Mina told News 6. "I want to relate to the community and how I want to fight crime and keep this community safe.”

Mina, the former Orlando police chief, said the recent shooting of 15-year-old Alejandro Martinez, a student at Boone High School, was upsetting and a reminder that the community is an important factor in the fight to get guns off the streets.

“Reduction of violent crime is definitely a top priority,” Mina said. "Whoever had that gun someone knew about that, knew someone was carrying a firearm illegally.”

Mina said the sheriff’s department is continuing to develop new leads in the case, but he stressed the community needs to get involved.

“We’re continuing to ask for the community’s help, the reward has been increased to $10,000,” he said.

On the issue of texting while driving, Mina said he is a proponent of developing legislation that makes it illegal.

He declined to mention specific support for the anti-texting bills filed this session, but made it clear he wants texting while driving stopped.

“What I’m against is people picking up that phone, reading their text messages, and texting on their phone,” Mina said. “That’s what is causing these accidents.”

Mina said his predecessor, Mayor Jerry Demings, left him a very efficient, talented office.

When asked about his choice for the Fusion Center, better known as the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange or CFIX, Mina said there are “plenty of good choices” in the sheriff’s department but that he hadn’t even considered a replacement for current Director Al Rollins.

The agency supports nine counties that share intelligence with federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Mina said the recent bitcoin bomb scare is a prime example of the importance of shared intelligence. 

“We’re always coordinating with local, state and federal authorities," Mina said. “We have deputies assigned to the FBI locally, so we get all that information firsthand, we have a great fusion center, intelligence network here.”

Mina declined to go into specifics but said the sheriff’s department is “aware” of the investigation and the possible international connection. 

"It’s all preliminary information, not many people know how to buy a bitcoin,” he said. “We’ve been tested in the country before, I think we all need to remain vigilant.”

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