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FLASHBACK: Maloy Voted To Disarm Deputies Before Deadly Shooting

grant maloy, eugene gregory, sammy gibson, don eslinger, seminole county post, seminole county news, news seminole county, orlando news, news orlando, jacob engels, seminole county sheriffs office, geneva florida, grant maloy seminole county commission, grant maloy seminole county,

18 years ago today, Seminole Sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Gregory was shot and killed — just 2 weeks after Commissioner Grant Maloy voted against protecting him.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

On the morning of July 8, 1998, Seminole County Sheriff’s Lt, Sammy Gibson got dressed for what he thought would be just another day on the job. Every law enforcement officer goes to work knowing the worst could happen that night. For Sammy Gibson, this was that night.

 

The nights in Mayberry-esque Geneva, on the eastern border of the county are usually dark and quiet, save for the sounds of nature and a clear view of the eastern stars. A deranged criminal ruined the quiet darkness with a flurry of violence and gunfire that would shatter the innocence and forever change this community.

 

As daylight approached, Seminole County’s finest had vanquished the threat, but not without loss. Sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Gregory, a Seminole County resident, had been killed.

 

Fern Park native and Geneva resident Lt. Sammy Gibson had been shot. Gibson spent days in the hospital and it was months before he was able to get back on the streets. But he did get back to the streets, because that’s what good cops do.

 

They protect and serve.

 

Two weeks before that night in Geneva, then-County Commissioner Grant Maloy was also on a rampage against law enforcement. Maloy, however, wasn’t firing ammunition at the police, he was trying to disarm them. Maloy, who never served in the military and even refused a ceremonial ride-along with the Sheriff’s office, attempted to deny funding for officers on the street.

 

During a meeting of the Seminole County Commission in 1998, Maloy said the Sheriff's Office, run by Sheriff Don Eslinger, should be more like Sherlock Holmes and not like a South American dictatorship. Maloy was dead set against spending money to keep deputies safer.

 

Eslinger, perhaps with prescience of the events that would change Seminole County forever, explained to Maloy the danger his deputies faced because those deputies were sometimes not as well armed as the bad guys. The sheriff then offered to have Maloy ride along with someone in the sheriff’s office so he could see first hand the danger faced by law enforcement every day.

 

Maloy declined and said his wife felt it was “too dangerous” and she would not allow it.

 

Over the years, Sammy has thought often about that dark night in Geneva. He is grateful for the courage of Deputy Gregory who died while proudly serving Seminole County.

 

He is also thankful for the Commissioners who have been helpful throughout the years in making sure the men and women tasked to protect the community from danger have all the resources available to protect themselves and the community adequately.

 

He will never forget, however, the Commissioner who felt Gibson and his fellow officers should just try to be smarter like the fictional Sherlock Holmes.

 

Gibson, who rose through the ranks and retired as a Captain after 36 years of service, says tough decisions have to be made by the commissioners all the time. He is grateful to those who are able to balance fiscal conservatism while understanding the importance of law enforcement and fire professionals.

 

Fiscal conservatism is what Seminole County taxpayers deserve and it is the taxpayers and safety of the citizens of Seminole County who Gibson has always tried to protect.

 

Gibson used his brains and accounting acumen to take down Allied Veterans gambling scheme — so he clearly understands that good law enforcement is part Sherlock Holmes — but also part sweat and courage and part good leadership.

 

Always concerned with service to the public rather than self-serving publicity, Gibson is now running for Clerk of the Court and Comptroller. The job he is seeking is a full-time job — it supervises about 200 men and women.

 

The job is not that of a “gotcha watchdog.” It’s the administration of the civil and criminal court operations as well as ensuring the county’s finances are in order.

 

It’s easy for a trustfund baby like Maloy to rattle off the name of a detective he read in a book once like Sherlock Holmes. It’s harder and perhaps more fulfilling, however, to remember those in uniform who put their life on the line in the real world so we can have a safe community.

 

On August 30, Election Day, please remember steadfast courage, confidence and protection is safer and more enduring than anger, tattletale-ing to a “gotcha” news reporter and the ability to grab self-serving headlines.

 

Choose wisely. Your tax dollars are on the line.

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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