FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - It has become a waiting game for Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who told his command staff that a suspension is inevitable, according to published reports.
However, during his South Florida visit to appoint Judge Barbara Lagoa to Florida’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, newly-elected Gov. Ron DeSantis did not mention if and when Israel will lose his job.
All questions veered back to Israel during the stop.
“If you’re gonna suspend someone, that’s kind of one step,” said DeSantis. “The other step is you gotta appoint a replacement as well.”
DeSantis alluded to the suspension during his inaugural speech, Tuesday.
“There will be executive actions on potentially a number of local officials within a relatively short time,” said DeSantis.
Israel’s critics cite his handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on Feb. 14 as the reason why he’s being ousted.
“If a local official is neglectful of required duties, I will remove that official,” said DeSantis during his inauguration.
The voters of Broward County elected Israel in 2012.
Since becoming sheriff, violent crimes, burglary and robbery rates have gone down every year.
Although this is considered a triumph for many, the sheriff has still had his share of scrutiny.
In 2016, Israel was criticized for his handling of the jailbreak of Dayonte Resiles, who was on the run for about a week after escaping from the Broward County Courthouse.
Israel also received criticism after the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where five people were killed and six others were wounded when Esteban Santiago opened fire inside of the baggage claim in Terminal 2.
Although BSO deputies quickly responded to the scene and apprehended Santiago within seconds, an investigation revealed there was poor communication and planning at the time.
“People say there was chaos and there was confusion. You think there might have been? Ten thousand people were escaping, not evacuating,” said Israel during a press conference.
After the MSD shooting, many began pointing fingers, and Israel defended himself.
“I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency,” said Israel during an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
However, many said a TV appearance where Israel went head to head with the National Rifle Association was the beginning of the end for the sheriff.
“I understand you’re standing up for the NRA, and I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do, but you just told this group of people that you’re standing up for them,” said Israel. “You’re not standing up for them until you say, ‘I want less weapons.'”
It was a passionate response from the sheriff because of his strong ties to Parkland.
Israel lived in the area for some time, and his children attended MSD, where he coached the football team.
Israel even won the Brian Piccolo Coach of the Year Award for his life’s work in youth athletics in Broward County.
Many have since called Israel the people’s sheriff who just had a series of bad storms and tragedy.
Israel said he will fight it if and when the suspension happens.
At that point, the suspension will be evaluated by the Florida Senate for a final decision.
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