Jason McDaniel: A Legacy of Public Safety and Service

Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Written by: Laura E. Richeson, APR

Born and raised in Lake Mary, Jason McDaniel has a passion for community engagement that runs deep. His family tree is filled with several law enforcement branches including his grandfather who served as the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, head of communications, and one of the founders of the 9-1-1 system during Sheriff John E. Polk’s tenure (1968-1990). Additionally, his father, uncle, aunt and brother all serve or have served with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

Jason McDaniel and his grandfather in 2008
Jason McDaniel and his grandfather in

Ironically, law enforcement wasn’t McDaniel’s initial higher education journey. He shifted gears following earning an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree from Seminole State in 2006 and advancing to study digital media at UCF. Public safety entered his reality when he married and was expecting a child to provide more stability and launch a career for his new family.

McDaniel entered the Law Enforcement Academy at Seminole State in 2008 and upon graduation was hired and sworn in as an officer with the Lake Mary Police Department. Many anticipated he would lean toward the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office with a strong family legacy, yet McDaniel was determined to set his course to protect and serve his community.

Jason McDaniel with oldest son Landen,
daughter Kenleigh, and youngest son Jaxon
in 2021 at Lake Mary Police Department.
Jason McDaniel with oldest
son Landen, daughter Kenleigh,
and youngest son Jaxon in 2021
at Lake Mary Police Department.

After a successful 14-year career with various roles within the Lake Mary Police Department, McDaniel was ready for the next challenge and began as a part-time adjunct professor at his alma mater, Seminole State. In 2022, McDaniel transitioned to a full-time role as the manager of the Criminal Justice Training Center.

“My experience as an officer to adapt in any situation provided me with a new level of transferable skills and an untapped passion to train future officers and public safety professionals to protect our communities, neighbors and families for years to come,” said McDaniel.

His role as manager is vast with many areas of accountability including course schedules, graduation ceremonies, recruiting events, student resources, orientation, FDLE audit compliance, advance training schedule facilitation, and liaison to all Central Florida agencies.

“Seminole State truly offers the best faculty and leadership. The united dedication of the dean, the professors and the entire collegewide support system is the reason our academies and degree programs remain so strong year after year,” recalls McDaniel.

The three pillars of success for McDaniel are straightforward and are his guiding principles to best serve the College community and students.

  1. Proactive advancement through the academy
  2. Passing the State Officer Certification Exam (SOCE)
  3. Getting hired and sworn into an agency to ensure the safety and security of the public

In a full-circle moment, McDaniel returned to Seminole State as a student himself and is in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration with a target graduation in 2025.

Learn more about the variety of degree, certificate and crossover training programs offered at Seminole State at seminolestate.edu/criminal-justice.

About the Center for Public Safety

Seminole State's Center for Public Safety is a statewide educational resource for all aspects of criminal justice, fire science and EMS. In addition to preparing future first responders, the Center for Public Safety provides advanced, specialized and in-service training for current law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. The College also offers students an Associate in Science degree in all three disciplines. Visit seminolestate.edu/public-safety for more information.