Commissioner, Polk legislative candidate arrested for impersonating deputy, FDLE says

Article Courtesy of  The Ledger

By Associated Press    

Published July 25, 2020


WINTER PARK — A county commissioner in Florida was arrested on Monday for impersonating a sheriff’s deputy, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr., 53, was arrested Monday evening for impersonating a member of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, according to a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Hawkins tried to enter an election of the Turnberry Reserve Homeowners Association in Winter Park on Nov. 7 even though he didn’t belong to the association, FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger told the Orlando Sentinel.

A security guard attempted to stop Hawkins, who showed a sheriff’s office credential and claimed he was with the agency. He then threatened to arrest the security guard, officials said.

Hawkins holds the honorary title of special deputy with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, but is not a certified law enforcement officer and has no arrest powers, Plessinger said.

She said the agency issued a warrant for Hawkins’ arrest on Monday, and he turned himself in at the Osceola County Jail in the evening after attending a County Commissioners meeting.

Commissioner Fred Hawkins jr. participates in the Silver Spurs Rodeo Paradedowntown St. Cloud, Febr. 21, 2020


Hawkins was booked into jail and posted a $1,000 bond shortly afterward, according to jail records.

Hawkins is currently serving his third term on the Osceola county commission, and is running to represent District 42 in the Florida House of Representatives.

His campaign said in a statement released Monday night that Hawkins “was merely trying to gain access inside a meeting room” where an association meeting was getting heated and people were getting unruly.

“Hawkins was attempting to reach a deputy in hopes of deescalating the situation when he was blocked by a private security guard. ... Commissioner Hawkins has routinely cooperated with investigators in an open and honest fashion and will continue to do so,” spokeswoman Christina Johnson said in the statement.