Undersheriff Ray Walden retires from CCSO after Daniels loses election

By Don Coble don@opcfla.com
Posted 8/26/20

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels’ right-hand man left the department a day after his boss was defeated by Michelle Cook in the Republican Party primary on Aug. …

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Undersheriff Ray Walden retires from CCSO after Daniels loses election

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels’ right-hand man left the department a day after his boss was defeated by Michelle Cook in the Republican Party primary on Aug. 18.

According to a document filed at the sheriff’s office, Undersheriff Ray Walden will retire. Although he’s cleaned out his office at the sheriff’s office, his retirement will become effective on Sept. 15.

Walden was the chief of staff who was responsible for more than 600 employees and a $53.3 million budget, according to the agency’s website. He was replaced by Director of Services Ricky Wright.

Daniels lost his bid for a second term after being arrested five days before the primary after he turned himself in on Aug. 13 to face on one charge of felony tampering with evidence and three counts of misdemeanor filing false reports related to an extramarital affair he had with a former subordinate when they both worked at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Jail.

An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and State Attorney’s Office determined Daniels asked the IT department at the sheriff’s office to destroy information on his cellphone that may have provided details of his affair. Daniels also was charged with three counts of making false claims to have the woman arrested for stalking. The Ocala State Attorney gave Daniels the choice of resigning as sheriff and as a candidate or face charges. Daniels decided to fight.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Daniels a day later, and he appointed Matt Walsh of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Jacksonville Office as the interim sheriff on Aug. 15.

Cook then beat Daniels by 3,121 votes – nearly 8% – in a crowded field of six candidates.

Walden has been in law enforcement for 31 years. On this resignation/retirement form, Walden checked the “Other” box and wrote in “Retirement.” At the bottom he wrote “resigned without cause.”

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