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Fla. deputies work to boot Broward sheriff with landslide vote of ‘no confidence.’ His response…infuriating

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A Florida union of deputies gave a resounding message in a vote of “no confidence” to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Out of 628 officers in the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association who voted,  534 declared they had no confidence in the sheriff and plan to ask Gov. Rick Scott to remove him over his handling of the Parkland mass shooting, according to Sun Sentinel.

(Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Habitat for Humanity of Broward)

“He fails to listen to the people, he fails to listen to the leadership,” Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, said. “Amazing leadership starts from the top, and there is no amazing leadership here. We are a ship out at sea with no power — adrift.”

Bell told the newspaper that members of the union “have displayed great courage to come out and vote under threat of retaliation and reprisal from the sheriff.”

The largely symbolic vote was begun last week amid a reported erosion of morale among deputies following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is currently investigating Broward Sheriff’s Office actions in the wake of the shooting while 73 state legislators have formally called for Israel to step down.

Israel fired back at the “inconsequential” vote which he characterized as an attempt to extort a pay raise.

Bell dismissed Israel’s comments and said he will seek to ask the governor to “please make change and replace the sheriff with somebody who is capable of amazing leadership.”

“The sheriff is a complete liar, capital letters on that. This has never been about a contract,” he said.

According to Sunshine State News:

The Union head stated his primary focus is on Israel’s actions following the shooting, and particularly how the sheriff verbally laid blame on one deputy on scene, Scot Peterson, who failed to enter the school and engage the shooter. Bell relays that many deputies were upset with Israel for publicly referring to Peterson’s actions as “cowardly,” something his deputies are now hearing the public hurl at them.

What has been revealing is that in the aftermath of the shooting, with numerous issues exposed inside Israel’s department, the sheriff has been more focused on repairing his own image. A non-profit group, headed by his campaign manager, was formed to raise money so it could hire a crisis management firm to prop up Israel’s flagging public image. His priority has not been on the problems in his own department, evidenced by the union voting to express concerns within its body.

 

The association is a chapter of the International Union of Police Associations, and represents 1,050 members. While the vote was open to all members, 628 voted with only 94 voting that they still have confidence in Israel, a Democrat who was re-elected in 2016 and won’t face voters again until 2020.

Scott had a wait and see approach to the vote outcome.

“Gov. Scott believes that people must be held accountable for the reported failures in response to the school shooting in Parkland, which is why he immediately called for a full and systematic FDLE investigation into the matter,” John Tupps, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said according to the Sun Sentinel. “Once that investigation is complete, and we have all the facts, the appropriate steps will be taken to hold people accountable.”

(Image: screenshot)

Response on social media seemed to condemn the embattled sheriff who was a media fixture in the days following the tragedy, even stoking tensions with his grandstanding appearance at a CNN town hall where he blamed the National Rifle Association for the tragedy days before it was revealed he knew his own deputies had avoided engaging the shooter.

Frieda Powers

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