Plantation, FL – The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association announced it had scheduled a “No-Confidence” vote on Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel in a press release on Friday afternoon.
Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Bell, who is president of the deputies’ union, said organization decided to have a vote following many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, and failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the Sheriff.
Deputy Bell said that Sheriff Israel has also failed to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff.
The announcement by the deputies union also claimed that Sheriff Israel’s lack of leadership had “crushed morale throughout the agency.”
“There is a complete failure at the sheriff’s office and he doesn’t recognize it,” Deputy Bell told CNN.
Sheriff Israel has been under fire since the public learned of his agency’s response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating the incident response, which included a school resource officer who stayed outside the classroom building while a gunman murdered 17 students and faculty, and wounded 16 more.
Seventy-four Florida lawmakers called for Sheriff Israel’s resignation, and the Florida attorney general questioned the integrity of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
“I don’t think some people were honest, and we’re going to investigate this situation in Florida and the right thing will be done,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told FOX News.
Sheriff Israel responded to initial criticism of his agency’s handling of the shooting rampage by touting his own leadership skills, and blaming Broward County Deputy Scot Petersen.
The sheriff accepted no responsibility for the numerous warning signs about future-shooter Nikolas Cruz members of his department missed, and he disavowed responsibility for taking action regarding Cruz in advance in an interview with CNN.
“Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” Sheriff Israel said. “I exercised my due diligence. I provided amazing leadership to this agency.”
As bodycam and surveillance videos of the scene at the Parkland high school were released, along with recordings of police radio traffic and 911 calls, it was revealed the Broward County incident commander had called for staging and setting up a perimeter rather than telling officers to go in and stop the shooting. It was not known at that time whether Cruz was still in the freshman building at the school.
The school resource officer had claimed that he didn’t know whether the shooter was inside the building.
Transcripts of radio traffic revealed that Deputy Peterson had actually told other responding officers to stay back from the buildings, and not to make entry. Video revealed that he’d stayed outside the building and taken cover while Cruz killed his former classmates.
Decisions made by the incident commander, Broward County Captain Jan Jordan proved to have been just as out-of-date and outside of department protocol as those made by the school resource officer.
The Sun-Sentinel reported that the heavily criticized Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel personally brought Capt. Jordan onto his sheriff’s department shortly after he was elected.
The recordings were released more than a week after Coral Springs police officers who responded to the Parkland high school on Feb. 14 said Broward County deputies were outside the school buildings, and had taken cover behind their vehicles, when they arrived at the campus, instead of rushing toward danger to try to prevent the loss of additional life.
In the weeks that have followed the shooting and the release of investigative materials related to it, security at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continued to face challenges.
In one week alone, police arrested the Parkland shooter’s younger brother for trespassing on a skateboard, and two other students who had brought weapons to school in unrelated incidents.
Then a Broward County deputy was caught napping on duty by a student when he was supposed to be protecting the school’s campus, prompting his suspension.
The agency has not released if their scheduling contributed to the deputy’s exhaustion.
Deputy Bell told CNN that the vote of no confidence for Sheriff Israel would be held at the end of April.