The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association dropped the hammer on Sheriff Scott Israel, announcing the union has “no confidence” in the current sheriff based on a recent member vote. Terri Parker, an investigative reporter, stated that the union believes Israel is “a liar” and that his deputies were “demoralized” and the office was “understaffed.”
Of the 628 officers associated with the union, 534 placed a vote of no confidence against Israel. Jeff Bell, the union president, stated that the result was the “union’s first vote of no confidence against a sheriff,” according to a report by the Daily Wire.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association members intend to request that Florida Governor Rick Scott remove Israel from office based on the sheriff’s handling of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February.
After the vote, Israel alleged that Bell was attempting to “use the Parkland tragedy as a bargaining tactic to extort a 6.5 percent raise.”
Bell responded to the claim, saying, “[Israel] fails to listen to the people, he fails to listen to the leadership.”
“Amazing leadership starts from the top, and there is no amazing leadership here,” he continued, adding, “The sheriff is a complete liar, capital letters on that. This has never been about a contract.”
“We are a ship out at sea with no power – adrift,” Bell stated. He also said that “members have displayed great courage to come out and vote under threat of retaliation and reprisal from the sheriff.”
While the union will present their results to the governor, the vote is largely symbolic. Even after the overwhelming vote of no confidence, the outcome does not initiate any immediate action or specific consequences for Israel.
“Those who purportedly voted in this straw ballot reflect only a small number of the 5,400 employees,” said Israel after the vote. “The unions representing the vast majority of our employees solidly support the leadership of this agency.”
After the shooting, the governor ordered an investigation into how the Sheriff’s Office handled its response and has stated that he intends to wait for the results before making a determination about Israel’s future.