WINDERMERE, Fla. — A judge sentenced former Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor on Friday to one year in jail, followed by three years probation.
However, 44-year-old Saylor might not spend much time behind bars and might go to a work release center instead, WFTV learned.
Saylor's head dropped when he heard he was sentenced to one year in jail. One of his loved ones cried, and as he was being fingerprinted and taken into custody, it looked as though he was fighting back tears.
Saylor is a convicted felon, after pleading no contest to charges he covered up an investigation into a child rape case involving his friend, Scott Bush. Bush, 50, was arrested in January. He is awaiting trial, and has been charged with lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than 12.
"It's not fair. It's not a good example for the community," said Windermere resident Alejandra Johnson.
He appeared to be fighting back tears as he was fingerprinted, handcuffed and taken to the Orange County jail to start his one-year sentence.
In an attempt to avoid jail, he made a brief statement to the judge.
"I'm here for a reason today and I understand that. Whatever happens today, I believe, it's my cross to bear," Saylor said.
But that burden isn't as heavy as it could have been. Saylor could have been sent to state prison for 20 years. Instead, he could bypass his one-year jail sentence and live at the county's work release center where he would not be living under lockdown and be able to go to work if he can find a job, WFTV learned.
Circuit Judge C. Jeffery Arnold seemed to get choked up as he sent Saylor to jail, at least for now.
"Your actions were a direct violation of the oath you took when you became a law enforcement officer years ago," said Arnold.
Prosecutors did not weigh in on Saylor's sentence since Saylor took his plea directly to the bench.
Saylor's defense attorney Mark NeJame argued against a jail sentence, but is relieved Saylor is not going to prison.
"He admitted he made some mistakes. He owned up to that and I think all in all, in evaluating it, it's a fair sentence," said NeJame.
Saylor has given up his law enforcement certification. As a convicted felon, he will never be a law enforcement officer again.
After he serves his one-year sentence, he will be on probation for three years.