Broward County Sheriff addresses no-confidence vote post community meeting

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel went on the record for the first time following a no-confidence vote from the union representing his deputies last week.

Israel was at Saint David Catholic Church in Davie Monday night for a community meeting on safety in schools and nursing homes when he spoke to 7News.

“It’s a shameful tactic to use on the horrific tragedy in Parkland,” said Israel.

Three days after the no-confidence vote was cast by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, Israel said it was just a ploy by the group’s leader, Jeff Bell, to get pay raises.

“He said to me that he was prepared to, I think he called it the ‘nuclear option,’ if in fact they didn’t get the raise that he thought that they should get,” Israel said.

Bell previously told CNN that, “Deputies don’t want to hear that he’s an amazing leader because there’s no amazing leadership going on right now.”

Bell told 7News Monday night that pay had nothing to do with it. He added that the sheriff’s behavior on national TV after the Parkland shooting was embarrassing and that he takes issue with how the sheriff handled the investigation into Scot Peterson, the school resource officer.

“That upset a lot of deputies where the sheriff went out there and publicly called Deputy Peterson a coward,” said Bell.

Israel had no comment on this, stating that he told the Florida Department of Law Enforcement he will not speak about the Parkland tragedy.

In the meantime, another union, the Federation of Public Employees, renewed its contract with BSO. Its director called it a vote of confidence in the sheriff.

“We really appreciate that,” said Israel. “I appreciate that because we work so hard. It’s so important to connect with all our units and the community, of course.”

Bell said he took issue with a lot of what the sheriff had to say on Monday night in a phone call with 7News.

As far as the meeting in Davie, none of that came up on Monday. Instead, the sheriff said he was willing to take part in inspections of nursing homes, especially after the tragedy that happened in Hollywood. He is also looking into more measures that have to do with school safety.

Israel said he and Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie went to a school in Indiana that has an excellent safety record. He hopes there might be lessons learned there that they can bring back to Broward County.

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