In the aftermath of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the anti-gun left attempted to paint the NRA and Second Amendment supporters as being responsible for the horrific massacre.
Others took a more critical look at the facts in the case and came to the conclusion that real responsibility lies with the shooter and those who had enabled him through actions and inaction — namely the school district, the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
The Washington Examiner reported that blame for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office recently culminated in a vote of “no confidence” for Sheriff Scott Israel by hundreds of local deputies who are members of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association.
Of the 628 union members who cast a vote in regard to their confidence in the job Sheriff Israel has been doing, 534 of them — roughly 80 percent — voted “no confidence” in their leader.
That lack of confidence stemmed from the repeated failures of the Broward Sheriff’s Office to deal with the shooter despite dozens of warning calls, and the lack of accountability for the failure of multiple deputies to respond appropriately when the shooting occurred, not to mention the sheriff’s blame game after the shooting, in which he praised his “amazing leadership.”
“Amazing leadership starts from the top, and there is no amazing leadership here,” the sheriff’s office union president Jeff Bell said after the vote took place. “We are a ship out at seas with no power — adrift.”
According to CNN, the “no confidence” vote was admittedly a largely symbolic gesture. However, it was coupled with a petition from the deputies to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, urging him to replace Sheriff Israel.
“I cannot tell Gov. Scott how to do his job, but I’m asking him … to re-evaluate the position of sheriff,” Bell said. “If he feels that Sheriff Israel must be removed or suspended, we will fully support him in that decision.”
“He fails to listen to the people,” Bell added. “He fails to listen to the membership and he wants to blame everybody else for his problems.”
As for Sheriff Israel himself, he downplayed the vote as “inconsequential” and nothing more than a negotiating ploy to obtain a raise for deputies.
“My job is to continue to do the job I was elected to do, which is to ensure the safety of Broward County’s 1.9 million residents. I will not be distracted from my duties by this inconsequential IUPA union vote,” the sheriff said in a statement.
“Those who purportedly voted in this straw ballot reflect only a small number of the 5,400 BSO employees. The unions representing the vast majority of our employees solidly support the leadership of this agency,” he added, referencing letters of support he has received from The Federation of Public Employees and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #53.
The ball is now in the court of Gov. Scott, who is waiting for the results of a full investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into the mass shooting as well as local law enforcement response to it. Scott holds the power to temporarily suspend the sheriff and appoint a replacement, but it is up to the state Senate to actually fully remove the sheriff from office.
“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,” said governor spokesman John Tupps. “Once that investigation is complete, and we have all the facts, the appropriate steps will be taken to hold people accountable.”
It is unclear when that FDLE investigation will be completed and what sort of recommendations they will issue, or what actions Gov. Scott will take once that has occurred.
One thing, however, is clear. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has shown again and again that he lacks leadership, and a huge number of his own deputies agree with that. Only time will tell if he feels the repercussions for his failures.
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