Public Safety Director Stephan Dembinsky of Daytona Beach Shores was named recently as president of the Florida Police Chief Association.
PSD Dembinsky was inducted at the FPCA’s 69th annual Summer Conference in Hollywood. The presidency is a volunteer position that serves for one year mixing administrative, legislative and representative duties.
As the face of the association for the next year, he made clear, “My goal is to represent the people of Florida. The police chiefs of Florida and the people of Florida, to the best of my ability.”
Some of the specific responsibilities PSD Dembinksy will find himself involved with are chairing board meetings, visiting each of the associations 17 districts and helping to guide legislation that benefits Floridians.
He decided to become a police officer when an off-hand conversation at Miami-Dade College piqued his interest in the profession.
“So I was standing in line to sign up for courses, and I started talking to a guy, became very close friends, who was a Miami cop, and we just started talking, and I'm not a religious guy, but by the time I got to where the people were, to sign you up, I knew what I wanted to do,” PSD Dembinsky said.
“I always say it was an epiphany. It’s the only one I ever had in my life,” he laughed as he finished the story.
PSD Dembinksy completed his education at Florida International University, graduating with a degree in criminal justice.
Born in Canada, he moved to Florida in his mid-teens. After he was accepted into the North Miami Beach Police Department right out of college, PSD Dembinsky worked there until December 1997, retiring as an assistant chief.
But his career wasn’t over.
He received multiple offers after retiring from North Miami, “but this is the one that I wanted to do,” he explained. “I like living on the beach. I’ve been a beach kid my whole life.”
He and his family moved to Daytona Beach Shores in May 1998 and he has held the title of public safety director ever since. It is a job that carries the dual responsibilities of a police and fire chief.
He wasn't elected as president of the FPCA, he moved up the ranks. In a typical year there is only one election, which is for third vice president. Each term in office is for one year with automatic promotions to the next position as long as you are in good standing. After his term is over, he'll still have one more year on the FPCA as immediate past president with a vote on the executive board.
He has been a member of the FPCA for 25 five years and knows the positive impact the association can have. In the past two years, the association’s legislative initiatives are highlighted by, outlawing texting and driving, lessening traffic congestion by using drones to map out traffic incidents and making it a felony to conduct swatting. Swatting is a prank call to emergency services that convinces the dispatcher to send police and other emergency responders to a location alleged to have an incident but in actuality does not. It can be serious as it takes needed personnel from a real crime scene and in some cases has led to an innocent person being killed.
A second retirement is just around the bend.
“I took this third vice president to move up, knowing that I would stay long enough to finish my term, but then I would probably retire. So, I’ll probably retire in a year and a half, two years,” PSD Dembinsky said.
When he retires, he will be able to spend more time with his wife of 42 years, Sandi, his two stepsons and his 24-year-old grandson.