Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told his staff that he is being removed from his office nearly two years after the failed response to the Parkland, Florida, massacre that resulted in 17 deaths.
Israel has been criticized for what many saw as a failed response from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, just one of the first responders on the scene at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School.
The Miami Herald said Israel told his top commanders he is being removed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, but there has been no official statement yet.
“We know that he is telling everyone at the public safety building that he is going to be gone,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office union chief Jeff Bell.
Bell would not say who the union would back for a replacement.
“What I will say is we want someone who will remove politics out of police work,” he added, “and commit to protecting the citizens and our children in the schools.”
A report from the state panel investigating the massacre placed blame on the response from Broward County Sheriffs, citing lack of training that kept officers from entering the school and confronting the killer to prevent more deaths.
In February 2018 when CNN’s Jake Tapper took Israel to task for the failures of his department, he rejected any responsibility and instead touted his “amazing leadership,” to Tapper’s surprise.
“Are you really not taking any responsibility for the multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward Sheriff’s Office about this shooter before the incident,” Tapper asked, “whether it was people near him, close to him calling the police?”
“Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about,” Israel responded. “I exercised my due diligence. I have given amazing leadership to this agency.”
“Amazing leadership?” asked Tapper incredulously.
“Yes, Jake,” confirmed Israel.