MIDDLEBURG, Fla. — Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels publicly apologized to his wife during a budget meeting Tuesday night, months after revelations of an affair the sheriff had with a Duval County Jail employee.
The affair sparked a criminal investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the dealings of Daniels and the sheriff's office.
“I just want to apologize before y'all,” Daniels said. “You know how you say, 'I want to say it before God and everybody?' I want to make sure that everyone understands that -- Denise Daniels? I love that woman.”
That was one of two messages Daniels discussed Tuesday night.
The other was the topic at hand -- the budget. At a public meeting in Middleburg, the sheriff discussed what his office needs in order to do its best job in terms of safety.
The meeting concerned a request for $4.9 million Daniels says he needs to fund updated technologies, new hires and to remain compensation-competitive in a world where he says employees often leave for bigger money elsewhere.
As for his personal issues that are now public, the sheriff addressed those proactively. When one citizen asked him whether those issues are causing any of the attrition in his office, Daniels flatly said "no."
“I think the sheriff's office is just as effective as it has always been,” Daniels said. “I think morale is pretty decent in the sheriff's office, no different than any other sheriff's office.”
Never one to mince words, Daniels says he's trying to tone down some of his rhetoric, but he emphasized that he has a job to do.
To his citizens, he said "We will keep you safe," and, keeping with his trademark bravado, warned criminals "We will hand you your rear end" regardless of budget.
Daniels says he's about 80 percent confident he'll get the $4.9 million he's requesting.
He'll likely get his answer in late September, just days before the new budget takes effect Oct. 1.