FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Current Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony has declared himself the winner over former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel and challenger Al Pollock to earn the democratic party’s nomination for sheriff.

Tony, the county’s first Black sheriff, declared himself the winner of Tuesday’s primary following a close race with Israel, who has yet to concede.

He was named sheriff after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Israel from the position in January 2019, almost a year after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Tony has touted his record as interim sheriff as being a hard-liner on deputies accused of police brutality.

“I am deeply honored that democratic voters have chosen me to lead the Broward Sheriff’s Office into a brighter, safer future,” Tony said in a statement released Tuesday night. “We’ve come a long way in the last 18 months, but there is still much work to be done. Together, we’re reforming the sheriff’s office, promoting good deputies and keeping our communities safer by embracing police reform. As your sheriff, I will work tirelessly to make this department a model for how a public safety agency can be effective, transparent and accountable to our community. Let’s keep moving forward.”

At last check, Tony garnered 37% of the vote, while Israel garnered 35% of the vote. Al Pollock came in third with 11% of the vote.

However, Tony’s tenure as sheriff has not been without controversy. Some of his deputies have said during the coronavirus pandemic, they have lacked personal protective equipment.

The sheriff has also been criticized for not disclosing that he shot and killed a man when he was 14 years old and living in Philadelphia.

Israel was elected as Broward Sheriff in 2013 and was criticized for the agency’s handling of the shootings at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and for how the agency handled the previous calls that they had received regarding the accused Parkland shooter.

“The people have spoken, and I accept the decision of the voter,” Israel said in a phone interview. “I want the community to know that I poured my heart and soul into being the sheriff of Broward County, and I fought hard to protect everyone’s rights.”

Should the results hold up, Tony will face H Wayne Clark, the republican nominee for Broward Sheriff, in November’s general election.

“It’s time for change at BSO,” Clark said. “It’s time to send BSO in a new direction, and it’s time to fix the mess of BSO and bring the morale back.”

Clark, a U.S. Army veteran and attorney, said he believes the safety of Broward County residents should not be a partisan issue.

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