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Disgraced Former Windermere Police Chief gets 1 Year in Jail

Daniel Saylor faced as much as 20 years in prison

Disgraced former Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor was sentenced this morning to one year in the Orange County Jail for official misconduct.

Judge C. Jeffery Arnold recommended work release for Saylor. If he is found to qualify, he will be allowed to work during the day and be housed in a "secure facility" at night.

Saylor also will be placed on three years' state probation after his release. He was ordered to repay $5,000 in investigative costs, as well as assorted court costs.

He faced a possible sentence of up to 20 years in state prison.

Saylor accepted a plea deal last month in which he pleaded no contest to two counts of official misconduct, solicitation to commit official misconduct and solicitation to tamper with evidence.

He also lost his law-enforcement certification. In return, the state dropped charges of bribery and unlawful compensation for official behavior against Saylor.

Arnold noted the many letters he had read attesting to Saylor's good deeds and character, but noted that Saylor's actions brought discredit not only to himself, but also the Windermere Police Department and law enforcement in general.

Saylor's head dropped as Arnold handed down the sentence.

He appeared to be trying to maintain his composure as he was fingerprinted, handcuffed and led from the courtroom by deputies.

Saylor's attorneys, Mark NeJame and Rajan Joshi, had hoped Arnold would sentence the 44-year-old Saylor to probation and community service.

NeJame cited the public embarrassment Saylor has suffered, the loss of his job and many of his friends, and noted what he called Saylor's "otherwise distinguished career."

About a dozen of Saylor's friends and family were on hand for the sentencing. His teenage daughter, for whom he has sole custody, was not in court.

Saylor was arrested and fired after a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation accused him of halting a child-sex investigation into a friend and urging one of his officers to destroy records.

"Whatever happens today, I have to live with it; it's my cross to bear. I am truly sorry," Saylor told Arnold prior to being sentenced.

"I think it was a very fair sentence," NeJame said later outside the courtroom. "I'm not going to say we're glad [that he's going to jail], … but, all in all, it's a fair sentence."

Saylor, now a convicted felon, and his lawyers will evaluate his options for employment, NeJame said.

Scott Bush, Saylor's friend whose case sparked his firing, is charged with lewd or lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than 12. He is awaiting trial.

Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel
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