Few Of Many Questions That Ex-sheriff Scott Israel Should Answer

Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel testifying in Tallahassee at a Florida Senate appeals hearing regarding his suspension. June, 2019. Photo credit: CBS Miami.

HOLLYWOOD, FL – Scott Israel was removed from the office of sheriff by Governor DeSantis on January 11, 2019, for negligence. Israel appealed that decision through the courts, taking it all the way to Florida’s Supreme Court, where the governor’s decision was upheld.

As sheriff, Scott Israel made a promotional video titled “BSO GROCERY GIVEAWAY 2015 DEERFIELD BEACH.” At 1 minute and 13 seconds into the video, which may be viewed on YouTube, he says, “I want the community to understand we’re not a law enforcement agency that goes out and arrests people,” and then “We are not a police agency.”

What is Broward Sheriff’s Office, in the mind of Scott Israel, if not a law enforcement agency?

As sheriff, Scott Israel set official policy that permitted deputies to determine whether they would intervene in active shooter scenarios or instead stand down. State statute clarifies that it is a primary responsibility of all law enforcement officials to prevent crime. [Refer to Chapter 943 of Florida Statutes.] But Scott Israel’s official policy contradicted state statute, allowing deputies to decide not to prevent crime. The consequences of that policy soaked Parkland, Florida in blood on February 14, 2018. Yet Scott Israel claims not to have had any responsibility for that massacre, despite dozens of reports and pleas to his agency regarding the sociopath who later committed the slaughter.

What were Scott Israel’s thoughts as he altered official policy to contradict state law? Did his understanding that Broward Sheriff’s Office was not a law enforcement agency influence his decision to encourage deputies, through implementation of his new official policy, not to comply with their statutory obligation?

Israel later claimed, while being interviewed by Jake Tapper about the issues surrounding the massacre, and his failure to respond appropriately to what should have been obvious signs of danger, that his service as sheriff had reflectedamazing leadership.”

When challenged regarding criticism of his handling of the operation, Scott Israel said, “Lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.”

Did Scott Israel mean by that to say that his own opinions are the only relevant ones when it comes to assessing and attributing responsibility for the results of his egregious failures?

Israel said, with regard to Deputy Scot Peterson’s failure to confront the shooter as the massacre was taking place:

“I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training. If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.”

But as noted above, Scott Israel also gave Peterson the option of deciding not to confront the shooter. Did Scott Israel actually forget the fact that it was he who set the policy that allowed Peterson, as well as several other deputies, to decide not to confront the shooter?

Scott Israel has announced his candidacy for Broward County sheriff, the same office from which he was so recently and appropriately removed, ignominiously.

One must wonder what Scott Israel intends to do upon reelection, how he intends to handle a law enforcement agency that, thanks to his pathetically poor administration, has lost its accreditation. Perhaps that loss is of no concern to him, since in his estimation, Broward Sheriff’s Office is not a law enforcement agency and so, presumably, has no need of accreditation.

What would Scott Israel do differently upon reelection, while having the same attitude about law enforcement as he had until the governor removed him?

There are really many other pertinent questions that Scott Israel should answer, but he seems unconcerned with the opinions of sheep.

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