Val B. Demings was born in Jacksonville to James and Elouise Butler, and the youngest of seven children. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Florida State University and her Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from Webster University. Demings also completed the Southern Police Institute Command Officer's Development Course, and is a graduate of the 226th Session of the FBI National Academy. After working as a social worker in foster care, Demings moved to Orlando in 1983 to attend the Police Academy. She was elected class president, and later received the Board of Trustees Award for overall excellence.
She has worked many assignments throughout her career, including the West Patrol, Criminal Investigation and Crime Prevention divisions, Explorer and Cadet Unit, Public Information Office, Internal Affairs and the Airport Division.
She has also served as the commander of special operations, where she managed special events, dignitary protection, traffic enforcement, traffic homicide, marine patrol, the K-9 and Vehicles for Hire Units, and the Reserve and Auxiliary Units.
Before becoming police chief, Demings served as the bureau commander for Patrol Services, and was responsible for over 300 sworn and civilian personnel.
On Dec. 17, 2007, Demings was appointed by Mayor Buddy Dyer as chief of police for the city of Orlando. She became the city's 36th police chief, and the first woman to ever be appointed to the office. Dyer officially swore in Demings on Jan. 10, 2008. In addition to her regular job assignments, Demings served 12 years on the Crisis Negotiation Team, commander of the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team, and executive vice president of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police.