In a vote that was partially the result of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., most Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association members—85 percent of those who cast ballots—said they have no confidence in Sheriff Scott Israel’s leadership.
“We are a ship out at sea with no power — adrift,” said Jeff Bell, president of the deputies’ union.
With the vote in hand, the deputies plan to petition Gov. Rick Scott to fire or suspend Israel, but the governor is under no obligation to take any disciplinary action. Scott might be a loss for words to explain his inaction, though, given the shortcomings that were revealed in the wake of Nikolas Cruz’s rampage through the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where he killed 17 people while a school resource officer cowered outside and other deputies were told not to enter the building.
Israel castigated the school resource officer, who resigned almost immediately, but the deputies’ association said that the behavior is typical of the sheriff’s tendency to assign blame elsewhere when things go wrong.
The sheriff discounted the vote, saying it was a grudge contest that is being used as a bargaining chip in contract talks. The deputies are in the third year of a three-year contract.