CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – For the first time Monday, Matt Walsh of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement -- who over the weekend was named Clay County’s interim sheriff -- spoke publicly in his new role.
Walsh was appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis following the arrest of Sheriff Darryl Daniels, who surrendered to authorities Thursday on criminal charges stemming from a sex scandal investigation. Friday, DeSantis suspended the embattled sheriff from public office.
Walsh admits he’s coming into this new job as the leading law enforcement agent in Clay County, for the most part, as a stranger to members of the agency.
“I plan on bringing stability. I plan on bringing support. My education is providing crisis support. My training as a leader is to provide crisis support. And there’s no doubt there is crisis going on here in this agency,” Walsh said.
Walsh was most recently the assistant special-agent-in-charge of the FDLE’s Jacksonville Regional Operation Center. His appointment comes during a turbulent time for the agency, and his first day on the job is the day before a primary election.
“There should be a general election in November, and from the results there, whoever wins, whoever is going to be the sheriff-elect, I will do everything I can to help them make a smooth transition,” Walsh said.
Through his attorney and a video statement posted on social media, Daniels has maintained his innocence. Attorney Matthew Kachergus said his client has no intention of stepping down and that he still plans to seek reelection.
“My job is to come here and provide support to members that are doing a great job. And it is business as usual. The members of this agency are here to continue doing what they’ve been doing for years,” Walsh said. “I’m here to provide them support and help them move on and turn the page.”