Scott Israel, the former Broward County sheriff who Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suspended for alleged incompetence and neglect of duty during the Parkland mass shooting, is campaigning for his old job once again.
On Monday, Israel submitted paperwork to run for the post in 2020, following repeated promises to do so, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The same day, a state panel voted to strip the Broward Sheriff’s Office of its law enforcement accreditation, according to the Miami Herald.
In January, DeSantis removed Israel, charging that he “repeatedly failed and has demonstrated a pattern of poor leadership.”
That not only included the February 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre that killed 17 people, the governor said, but also the January 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Airport shooting that left five dead.
“These incidents demonstrate Sheriff’s Israel’s repeated incompetence and neglect of duty,” DeSantis said. “The families of the victims deserve accountability.”
In response, Israel defended himself, contending that he was guilty of “no wrongdoing” and “served the county honorably.”
Israel then filed a lawsuit arguing that DeSantis had overstepped his authority, though a circuit judge upheld to governor’s use of executive power.
Last month, Israel appealed the suspension in the Florida Senate, dismissing DeSantis’ characterization of his behavior. The case is still under review.
Regardless of next year’s election results, Israel told CBS affiliate WPEC-TV that he would accept the outcome.
“If and when the people of Broward county vote for another person who receives more votes than me, then I’ll walk away from this job with my head held high,” he said.
He has also vowed to run even if the Senate does not decide the case in his favor.
Partly at issue is a change made in 2016 to the BSO’s active shooter policy, which stated that deputies “may enter” the scene to save lives.
A January 2019 report from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission pointed out that the policy is markedly different from that of the Coral Springs Police Department, which says officers “shall enter the area.”
According to the report, in a discussion with the commission, “Israel defended use of the word ‘may’ stating that he wanted his deputies to exercise discretion and he did not want them engaging in ‘suicide missions.’”
The wording of Broward County’s policy was changed from “may” to “shall” nearly a year after the shooting.
However, a total of four officers have already been fired for inaction.
Last week, interim Sheriff Gregory Tony announced that two county deputies had been ousted for neglect of duty following a probe of the police response to the shooting.
Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer, who has also been fired, was arrested last month on charges of child neglect and negligence for standing outside the building as the violence unfolded.