Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has been having issues after it was revealed that not only did FOUR of his deputies fail to take on the school shooter, but that the sheriff was aware of that when he appeared at pro-gun control events to cast the blame at others.
As public opinion turns against the sheriff, now it appears that someone has been asking staff members to defend him and his reputation via an email. That would be a new low for Sheriff Israel.
Sheriff Israel hasn’t done himself any favors throughout the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Knowing that his own deputies failed to act, he pushed a gun control-heavy political agenda, perhaps hopeful that he could direct that blame at the weapon.
But the day after he appeared at a ‘town hall’ designed to push for greater gun control, news came out that deputies who responded to the scene failed to take on the shooter.
Now, it appears that the Broward County Sheriff’s office is circling the wagon rather than being honest about their failings.
— Debra Heine (@NiceDeb) February 27, 2018
The email says, in part, that “SI [Sheriff Scott Israel] stood with us, and now we must stand with him,” suggesting that because the Sheriff (who is the head of Broward County’s Sheriff Department) has been loyal to the department, they should be loyal to him.
The email was first brought to the attention of the public by Laura Ingraham.
Frankly, the email is awful on a number of levels.
To begin with, Sheriff Scott Israel’s loyalty (or lack thereof) is not some sort of talking point for why others should cover for him.
Indeed, the loyalty of employees of the Sheriff’s Department should not be to the Sheriff, but rather to Broward County, which they are supposed to ‘protect and serve.’
Scott Israel is a person, one who was voted in to be the head of the Sheriff’s Department, to be the Sheriff. When he leaves, whether he is removed by the Governor of Florida (which is legally questionable), resigns, or loses the next election, the Sheriff’s Department will continue to exist.
Further, the idea that Scott Israel has been ‘loyal’ to the department he heads is a bit of a stretch.
He has repeatedly been accused of using the Sheriff’s office for his own personal profit, and of nepotism.
In 2015, it was claimed that Sheriff Israel put pictures of his face on five vehicles used by the Sheriff’s department.
The vehicles were sarcastically dubbed ‘Israelmobiles,’ and driven by Israel’s ‘community outreach team.’
That ‘outreach team’ was allegedly filled with his campaign members and supporters.
He was accused of further misuse of his political office in 2016 when he sent deputies and Broward Sheriff’s Office employees a ‘political forum’ for senior citizens.
He sent workers, in the BSO uniform, to hand out pamphlets that prominently featured him. Some of these employees of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office were on the clock while they were at the event, being paid to hand out pamphlets.
In 2016, the Sun-Sentinel alleged that Sheriff Israel was using public relations and community outreach jobs to reward campaign staff and contributors.
They noted that one such position, that of ‘outreach manager’ for the department, a cushy position that paid over $78,000 a year, went to the husband of Israel’s campaign manager.
Other jobs went to other, less influential people related to the campaign, however.
Articles about Sheriff Israel were not just about nepotism and his willingness to take part in kickbacks.
After the shooting at a Fort Lauderdale airport in 2017, the Sun-Sentinel castigated Sheriff Israel and his office.
They said that the Sheriff’s Office failed to “seize control and set up an effective command system after the deadly mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport.”
Further, they said that due to this, a “cascade of mistakes” occurred.
At this point, it is becoming more and more obvious that Sheriff Israel thinks himself above the concerns of the community, and above basic policing.
Since Virginia Tech, it has been a common policy that rather than waiting for a four-man team, officers on scene are to assault the shooter as quickly as possible.
This policy changed because so many shooters when faced with any armed response, killed themselves.
The new policy was put in place entirely out of the hope that, confronted with an armed police officer, the shooting would end.
Even in the worst-case scenario, an officer would be able to engage the shooter and force their concentration to be on avoiding or fighting a trained police officer, rather than shooting schoolmates and faculty.
The BSO deputy who worked at the school took cover and did not engage. Rather than face an investigation, he resigned (keeping his pension intact by doing so).
Sheriff Israel’s response was that he gave him training, as well as “a badge and a gun,” and that he was not responsible for his employee’s failure to respond.
Imagine a military officer saying the same thing about one of his soldiers who failed to perform his duty. Imagine saying the same thing about MULTIPLE soldiers who failed to perform their duty.
Sheriff Israel has refused to admit that anything was wrong with the response to the shooting, even as his officers stood outside while children died. At this point, it’s even alleged that the department told officers NOT to enter the building.
That’s not leadership; that’s a failure of leadership. And if left in his position, Sheriff Israel’s failure to lead and failure to be responsible could have negative outcomes for others.