A union representing one-quarter of the Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies says a large majority of its members have no confidence in their boss.
The International Union of Police Association took a vote of their members from Sunday through Wednesday, asking each of the 1,300 deputies they represent whether they still have confidence in Sheriff Scott Israel’s ability to remain in charge of the department.
Out of the 628 who voted, 534 no longer have confidence, while 94 have confidence, the organization said.
The vote is mostly symbolic as Israel is an elected official, but could force state officials – including the office of Gov. Rick Scott – to consider possible actions against the two-term sheriff.
Sheriff Israel responds to IUPA vote: pic.twitter.com/RCuoz0Y9cO
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) April 26, 2018
Israel faced major backlash on how his department handled the school shooting inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14th.
IUPA officials are also upset at Israel’s appearance on a nationally televised town hall meeting days after the shooting – as well as his condemning former deputy Scot Peterson, who was the Parkland school’s resource officer and was seen on surveillance camera not entering the school in the moments following suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz opening fire.
”The sheriff has gone into a hiding mode,” said the union’s chapter president, Jeff Bell. “That is not something the sheriff should be discussing on live national TV.”
“You always wait for all the facts to come out first in case something comes up,” Bell added. “He should have our back at all costs unless we’re proven to be wrong.”
Israel fired back, claiming the union is using the vote and the school tragedy to “extort” a pay raise in the midst of ongoing labor talks – calling it “unfortunate and appalling.”
Earlier this week, BSO’s largest union - the Federation of Public Employees, which represents nearly half of the department’s almost 5,300 members – went in a very different direction, sending a letter to the sheriff thanking him and reiterating support for him. A local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police also sent Israel a letter this weekend issuing their support for him as well.