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Dems call for DeSantis to appoint 'apolitical' sheriff. Here's who DeSantis has appointed sheriff before

Wilfredo Lee/ Associated Press
DeSantis appointed Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony in 2019 after removing his predecessor over his response to the Parkland school shooting.

With Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams set to retire June 10amid the revelation that he hasn’t lived in the county since last year, the city charter calls for the governor to appoint an interim sheriff until a special election is held.

The chairman of the Duval Democrats, Daniel Henry, is calling for DeSantis to appoint “someone that is apolitical, that is not a candidate running for office, that is focused full-time on the job,” he said in an interview with WJCT News. Williams is a Republican.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed at least two sheriffs since taking office: in Clay County and and Broward County. Neither were filed candidates for the office when they were appointed.

In 2020, after Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels resigned amid scandal, the governor appointed interim Sheriff Matt Walsh, a 17-year veteran with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,, according to WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.

Michelle Cook, the former Atlantic Beach Police Chief, then won the Republican primary for sheriff and did not have a general election challenger, so DeSantis appointed her to the post four months early.

In 2019, DeSantis appointed former Coral Springs Police Sgt. Gregory Tonyas Broward County sheriff after he removed Sheriff Scott Israelfor what DeSantis said was a botched response to the Parkland school shooting. Tony was then re-elected in 2020. He is the first African-American in Broward County to serve in the position.

Currently, Broward residents are waiting to hear from the governor over whether Tony will face disciplinary action for lying about killing another teen nearly 30 years ago. According to WJCT News partner WLRN, an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found Tony lied on several applications about the shooting that took place when he was 14 years old. He was charged with murder but later acquitted on self defense.

Jamie is an award-winning, Emmy nominated broadcast journalist who serves as a host and reporter for WJCT Public Media.
Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP