Broward Sheriff Vows to Fight Ouster Over Parkland School Shooting

Scott Israel charged the decision to remove him as sheriff was all about “politics.” His replacement will be Broward County’s first African-American sheriff.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, criticized for his office’s inadequate response to last year’s Parkland, Fl., school shooting, plans to fight  the decision to remove him from office, claiming he is a victim of “politics,” reports The Miami Herald.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended the two-term Democratic sheriff Friday, citing the conclusions of a state panel’s investigation of the Broward County agency’s response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, said The Herald, CNN and other news outlets.

The panel found that several Broward deputies failed to run into the building to try to stop the gunman — or were slow and inadequately trained to confront the killer and stop him.

The governor’s action came three days after he was sworn in, and fulfilled a promise he made during last Fall’s election campaign to remove the sheriff.

Israel was replaced by Gregory Tony, a former Coral Springs, Fl., police sergeant with a background in active-shooter training, who will be the county’s first African-American sheriff.

Israel’s lawyer, Stuart Kaplan, said that not only would Israel fight the governor’s order, but he would run for re-election when his term ends in 2020.

“There certainly were mistakes made,’’ Kaplan said. “But in every situation we can always identify things that could be done better…it does not in any way rise to the level to single out Sheriff Israel and hold him accountable for what happened.’’

Appearing later at a meeting with reporters, Israel made clear he saw himself as a victim of political scapegoating.

“Sadly, this is not about what occurred on Feb. 14 [2018],’’ he said at a news conference at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale. “The governor promised as a candidate — well before he had any facts about the investigation, well before the commission even began their work — that he would remove me from office.”

Israel added: “Today he merely fulfilled a campaign promise. This was about politics — not about Parkland.”

After expressing his sympathies for the families who lost loved ones in the mass shooting, Israel insisted he had not failed in his duty.

The ousted sheriff said there was no “wrongdoing” on his part.

“I served the county honorably and I will continue to do that,” he said.

The new sheriff, who now lives in Boca Raton, left the Coral Springs Police Department after 12 years in 2016, the South Florida.


Police Foundation Launches Center for Mass Violence Research Studies

The center, piloted by one of the nation’s leading police think tanks, will explore how police and other first responders can improve their ability to handle mass violence incidents like terror attacks and school shootings.

One of the country’s leading police research organizations is launching a Center for Mass Violence Research Studies to explore how police and other first responders can improve their ability to handle mass violence incidents like terror attacks and school shootings.

The Police Foundation described the center’s mission as an effort to help public safety authorities and community leaders “think critically about mass violence events, so as to develop and implement comprehensive prevention, response and recovery strategies.”

“Public safety officials, policy and decision makers, and community leaders learn from research, data and comprehensive case studies to identify what’s working, and what areas can be improved to enhance public safety’s response to mass violence events,” said Foundation President Jim Bueermann, a former chief of police in Redlands, Ca., in a press statement.

“As threats constantly evolve, it is critical that we continuously evaluate protocols to ensure our communities remain as safe as possible.”

The Foundation said it was spurred to action by recent acts of violence across the U.S., ranging from the terror attack in San Bernadino, Ca. in 2015, at the 2016 massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Fl., and the shootings earlier this year at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl.

Noting that such incidents remained “relatively infrequent,” the Foundation said the chaos and devastation suffered by communities and survivors in their wake, represented a new strategic challenge to emergency response protocols.

The Police Foundation, established in 1970 as a non-partisan think tank with a grant from the Ford Foundation, has sponsored research that has led to significant changes in policing in areas ranging from police ethics and use of force to immigration enforcement and gun policy.

Its senior staff and research fellows includes former police chiefs and senior police managers.

In 2015, with funding from the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Community Oriented Policing, it created the Averted School Violence database, and is currently expanding it to include a state by state review of school and building safety security standards.