The fate of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel could soon be decided after Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis is sworn into office next week. DeSantis takes office next Tuesday. He told NewsRadio 610 WOID Wednesday that he expects to make a “number of personnel actions” during his first week in office. One of those actions could be the suspension of Israel for the way his agency reacted in response to last February’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
DeSantis told WIOD that he wants to read a report that was approved Wednesday by the MSD Public Safety Commission before he makes any decision on Israel’s future.
“I don’t think there is any question there were balls dropped along the way, and it was a tragedy I think could have been prevented,” DeSantis said in the interview with WIOD.
The nearly 500-page report released by a state appointed commission created to look into what happened in Parkland determined that errors were made by the Broward County Sheriff Office, including slow reaction time and allowing tips to fall through the cracks.
Seventeen students and staff were killed when the 19-year-old gunman walked onto the school’s campus and opened fire.
While the report did point out several inadequacies on the part of the Broward sheriff and his department, the report did not call for Israel’s removal from office.
During the gubernatorial campaign, DeSantis had said he would have removed Israel from office had he been governor at the time of the massacre.
State law gives the governor the authority to suspend an official from office for reasons such as malfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty. If DeSantis were to suspend Israel, the sheriff could request a trial by the Florida Senate to challenge the suspension.
Since being elected, DeSantis has stopped short of saying whether he’ll suspend the sheriff.
Israel has defended his actions, as well as those of his department. He insists he has done nothing wrong to warrant his removal from office.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association announced in April they were calling for a “no-confidence” vote in Israel. The results were overwhelming, 534 votes out of 628 against him.
“Deputies and sergeants cast their ballots to say ‘Sheriff, we no longer have confidence in your leadership’,” said union BSO Deputies Association President Jeff Bell, reported CBS Miami.