Scott Israel

Scott Israel is a former law enforcement officer who served as the 16th Sheriff of Broward County, Florida, from 2013 until his suspension on January 11, 2019, by an executive order signed by new Governor Ron DeSantis.[1][2][3]

Scott Israel
Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff's Office.jpg
16th Sheriff of Broward County
In office
January 8, 2013 – January 11, 2019
Preceded byAl Lamberti
Succeeded byGregory Tony
Personal details
Born1956/1957 (age 63–64)
New York
CitizenshipUnited States
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Susan Israel
Children3
ResidenceDavie, Florida

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting occurred in his jurisdiction in February 2018 while he was Sheriff, and his department and deputies were criticized.

In October 2019, the Senate of Florida voted to confirm Israel's suspension from the position of Broward Sheriff.[4][5][6]

CareerEdit

Israel was born to a Jewish family in New York and raised in The Bronx and Long Island. His father was a homicide detective. He studied political science at SUNY Cortland.[7]

He became a patrol officer for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in 1979.[8] In the 1980s he was investigated for 10 incidents by Fort Lauderdale Police Department Internal Affairs division. The incidents included 6 accusations of "excessive or unnecessary force", shooting at a drug suspect, and using profanity. Israel was cleared of all wrongdoing.[9]

The records of five of these investigations, including two of the more serious incidents, which involved allegations of false arrest and theft, were later reported to be missing from the city records.[9]

Israel later worked in narcotics and later served as a SWAT commander. From 2004-08, he was the chief of police in North Bay Village. He left that position in 2008 to run for Sheriff, but lost the election.[8]

Broward County SheriffEdit

Israel was elected sheriff in 2012, running against incumbent Al Lamberti, and reelected in 2016. He was the first Jewish-American sheriff in Broward County history, and the second in Florida's history. He is known for being outspoken regarding gun violence and gun control, and opposes open carry legislation. In 2016, Israel began to implement a plan for deputies to have body cameras.[8]

Fort Lauderdale airport shootingEdit

In 2017, his office was criticized for failing to take control in the aftermath of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, in which five people were killed and another six were injured, although the suspect was taken into custody within 90 seconds. According to a report issued by the Sheriff's Office, the failure was caused both by leadership issues and problems with communication systems.[10]

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootingEdit

 
Sheriff Israel visits victim Anthony Borges.[11]

In the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Israel came under scrutiny for both the actions of his deputies and his department's failure to act on warning signs about shooter Nikolas Cruz. On the day of the shooting, an armed sheriff's deputy was outside of the school but did not enter. Afterwards Israel criticized the deputy, saying that he should have "went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer".[12]

It was later discovered that there may have been at least two other deputies, that arrived later, who also did not enter the building.[13] Coral Springs police officers who arrived at the scene were surprised to find that the deputies still had not entered the building.[14]

According to Israel, his agency had "been involved in 23 type calls involving the killer in some way, shape or form – or his brother." However, through a Freedom of Information Act request CNN found that the sheriff's department had actually received 45 such calls about Cruz or his brother over the past decade.[15] Israel rejected calls for his resignation, including one from State representative Bill Hager.[16]

On November 12, 2018, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission's monthly meeting investigating the shooting, Sheriff Israel admitted that he had changed the Broward Sheriff's Office written policy on active shooters, changing one word in a critical sentence about deputies engaging active shooters from "shall" go in after the shooter, to "may" go in after the shooter. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, a commissioner on the panel, admonished Sheriff Israel stating that "Words matter, and according to your policy, he did not have to go in". Judd was referring to Scot Peterson, the former Broward Sheriff's Office deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a school resource officer, who resigned after it was revealed that he had not entered the building to engage the shooter. Peterson had waited outside the building with his gun drawn while shots were being fired inside. Sheriff Israel's admission that he changed the verbiage of the active shooter policy clashed with his own statements at a news conference nine months earlier, just days after the shooting, when Sheriff Israel announced that Deputy Peterson was being suspended without pay because "He never went in." At the time of the shooting on February 14, 2018, Israel's re-written active shooter policy in effect on the day of the shooting provided that Deputy Peterson did not have to go in, but that information had not been brought to the public light until the commission meeting on November 15.[17][18]

During the commission meeting as Sheriff Israel was being questioned, another Florida sheriff on the panel brought up that several of Israel's deputies on the scene of the shooting failed to take command, and seemed disengaged, or failed to act at all, driving back and forth outside the school during the shooting, or they were distracted. This eventually led to more disciplinary action against these deputies.[citation needed]

Criticism and suspensionEdit

Sheriff Israel was criticized by his political opponents,[19] who accused him of hiring his political supporters to work in "community outreach" jobs that consisted mostly of going to meetings and touting the Sheriff's Department's success. Ten such workers were hired since 2013, for salaries totaling $634,479.

Israel responded to criticism of his team with "lions don't care about the opinions of sheep," while also stating he doesn't spend more than ten seconds listening to his opponents' criticisms.[19]

On April 20, 2018, the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association opened a no-confidence vote for members, scheduled to conclude on April 26. This was the first no-confidence vote the union has brought against a sheriff.[20] The no-confidence vote concluded 534–94 against Israel.[21]

In May 2018, the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association paid for a billboard just north of Sunrise Boulevard on Interstate 95 appealing to Governor Rick Scott and referencing their vote with the phrase "There is no confidence in Sheriff Israel". The association called for the governor to remove Israel following his handling of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.[22]

On January 11, 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially suspended Israel for his responses to the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting and Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. DeSantis appointed Gregory Tony as Israel's successor. [23]

On October 23, in a special session of the Florida Senate, the chamber voted 25–15 to uphold the suspension.[24]

Israel and Tony, against whom the Union members also voted "no confidence" in April 2020, are the leading contenders for the sheriff position in the 2020 Democratic Party primary. In Broward County, winning the Democratic nomination virtually guarantees election.[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Zwirz, Elizabeth (2019-01-08). "Florida governor suspends Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, sources say". Fox News. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  2. ^ "Gov. DeSantis Removes BSO Sheriff Scott Israel From Office; 'I Have No Interest In Dancing On His Political Grave'". 11 January 2019.
  3. ^ Wallman, Lisa J. Huriash, Anthony Man, Linda Trischitta, Brittany. "Sheriff Scott Israel dumped over Parkland shooting failures; new sheriff is Gregory Tony". Sun-Sentinel.com.
  4. ^ "Florida Senate Votes To Permanently Remove Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel". October 23, 2019.
  5. ^ Man, Anthony. "Florida Senate endorses Gov. Ron DeSantis, removes Scott Israel as Broward sheriff". sun-sentinel.com.
  6. ^ Franzin, Rachel (October 23, 2019). "Florida Senate votes to remove Broward Sheriff after Parkland shooting". The Hill. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Swisher, Skyler. "Sheriff Scott Israel: Career defined by controversy and fury over failures during Parkland shooting". Sun-Sentinel.com.
  8. ^ a b c Valys, Phillip (February 24, 2018). "Who is Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel?". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Wallman, Brittany (May 19, 2009). "Candidate had praise, complaints as officer". Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Hobbs, Stephen; O'Matz, Megan (June 3, 2017). "Fort Lauderdale airport shooting: We failed to take control, Sheriff's Office says". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Bacon, John (February 19, 2018). "Teen shot 5 times closing the door during Florida shooting gets visit from Broward sheriff". USA Today. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  12. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (February 26, 2018). "Sheriff's Deputy Defends Actions in Florida Shooting, Denying He Was a 'Coward'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Huriash, Lisa J.; O'Matz, Megan (February 23, 2018). "Police say more deputies waited outside school during Stoneman Douglas shooting". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Tapper, Jake (February 24, 2018). "Sources: Coral Springs police upset at some Broward deputies for not entering schoo". CNN. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  15. ^ Devine, Curt; Pagliery, Jose (February 27, 2018). "Sheriff says he got 23 calls about shooter's family, but records show more". CNN. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "Scott Israel resignation sought by Bill Hager after Florida school shooting". Associated Press. February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Fleshler, David. "Sheriff Israel defends agency's performance in Parkland shooting". Sun-Sentinel.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  18. ^ Blinder, Alan; Mazzei, Patricia (February 22, 2018). "As Gunman Rampaged Through Florida School, Armed Deputy 'Never Went In'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  19. ^ a b Brittany Wallman (27 August 2016). "Sheriff's hiring of political supporters under fire". Tronc publications. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Flores, Rosa (April 20, 2018). "Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel to face no-confidence vote from his own deputies". CNN. Archived from the original on April 21, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  21. ^ "Broward Deputies Union Has "No Confidence" In Sheriff Scott Israel". CBS Miami. April 26, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  22. ^ Swisher, Skyler (May 4, 2018). "Union pays for I-95 billboard expressing 'no confidence' in Sheriff Scott Israel". Sun-Sentinel. Broward County, Florida: Tronc. ISSN 0744-8139. Archived from the original on May 5, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  23. ^ "Executive order 19-14" (PDF). www.flgov.com. 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  24. ^ Burke, Peter (October 24, 2019). "Florida Senate votes to uphold decision to remove Sheriff Scott Israel from office". WPLG.
  25. ^ Man, Anthony (January 17, 2020). "The clash between sheriff's candidates Scott Israel and Gregory Tony". Sun Sentinel.

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