OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola County’s Sheriff-elect beat out incumbent Russ Gibson in the primary, and won in a landslide Tuesday on election night.
What You Need To Know
- Marco Lopez won the Osceola County Sheriff race in a landslide Tuesday
- He will be the first Hispanic sheriff in Central Florida
- Changes he plans to make in the office include increased diversity and transparency
Marco Lopez continues to make history as he prepares to become the first Hispanic sheriff in Central Florida.
Lopez says he plans to make big changes, and those changes really boil down to diversity and transparency.
He feels glad to represent the county’s large Hispanic demographic, but says it’s about time the rest of the department represents and serves the community better.
Lopez started celebrating victory early on Election Night after securing about two thirds of the vote.
He says now that he’s in office, there are even more tables to turn.
“I noticed that there’s a lack of diversity in our department in general," said Lopez. "At the time about 28% of the total employees were either bilingual or minorities, and we were at a 70% minority-based community.”
Lopez made it clear on the campaign trail that better representation was key and said he’ll see it through that transparency is also improved.
“A majority (of communities in Florida) have a community advisory review board," said Lopez. "Why have we not implemented one years ago? I don’t know. There’s no secrets. It’s all public records."
He sees it as a win-win for the department and the community.
“It’s not just to discipline officers," Lopez said. "It’s how we handle complaints, how we spend the tax dollars, where our high crime areas are, why we need more officers, why we ask our commissioners for more money.”
During divisive times, he hopes his experience, background, and missions will bring unity and trust to the community.
“I didn’t wake up in the morning saying I’m gonna make history," he said. "I just saw so many needs, and bridging that gap between law enforcement and the community."
Lopez says he also wants to work on deescalation training and adding more mental health resources for his department, so there’s no chance that tension will lead to wrongful use of force, or police brutality.