The youngest of seven children, Val Demings was raised to believe she could achieve anything if she put her mind to it. After graduating from Jacksonville’s public schools, Demings received a B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Webster University. Demings spent her early career as a Social Worker focused on foster care, and then joined the police force in Orlando. After serving in the Criminal Investigations Division, Internal Affairs and other departments, she was tapped to serve as the Commander of the Special Operations. There, she was responsible for some of Orlando’s highest profile tasks, including special events, dignitary protection, and K-9 units. In 2007, Demings was selected to serve as Chief for the Orlando Police Department – the first woman to ever hold that position. After twenty-seven years at the Orlando Police Department, including three and a half years as the department’s top cop, Demings decided to retire from the force and continue her commitment to public service in another way. Demings’ husband Jerry is also a respected leader in Orlando law enforcement, and is currently serving as the Sheriff of surrounding Orange County.