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Nancy Smith

Beyond Incompetence: Broward Sheriff Scott Israel Shouldn't Get a Second Chance

March 22, 2018 - 4:30pm
Scott Israel
Scott Israel

A long discovery process lies ahead in the anatomy of the Parkland massacre. But one conclusion is indisputable. Or, should be.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel should be removed.

Never mind the more than 30 ignored follow-ups on warning phone calls. Based on nothing more than his deputies' failure to adhere to their active-shooter-incident training, Israel has to go. 

Broward, second most populous county in Florida, deserves so much better. 

The more we learn about the details of the Broward Sheriff's Department response -- or, lack of it -- the more tragic the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School becomes. And the more exposed Sheriff Israel's failed leadership.

I Beg to Differ

It took a public records request from Judicial Watch to uncover Israel's Standard Operating Procedure and lesson plans for an active shooter incident.

As you would imagine, the manual specifically directs that the first one or two officers on the scene of an active shooter incident “will immediately go to confront the shooter.”

The department confirmed that armed school resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson was first on the scene of the Feb. 14 shooting, but did not enter the school to confront shooter Nikolas Cruz.
Three other deputies also arrived, but they stayed crouched behind their cars, too. Judicial Watch lays it all out: Broward County Sheriff's materials direct that if four officers are on the scene of an active-shooter incident, they are to assemble in a “quad” formation and enter the building. 

During Columbine, the response to an ongoing shooting situation was to contain the suspect. After Columbine the International Chiefs of Police addressed the problem with the response and came up with the “Quad” or diamond formation. With the quad, the first four officers to respond entered the building with coverage in all directions. This was critical to address the concerns of officers who previously would not enter and just wait for SWAT.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said during a news conference that, “What I saw was a deputy [Peterson] arrive … take up a position and he never went in.” Israel said Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”
The lesson plan clearly states: “If you are on scene or in the area and hear gunshots, you should immediately access what you have and prepare to respond. Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.”
The training materials also state that the first officers on the scene will “engage the suspect,” which Peterson did not do. “There are now three teams during Active Shooter Incident [Contact, Extraction and Rescue Task Force]: Contact Team: Is first on scene, 1-4 deputies, they will be actively engaging/searching for suspect (HOT ZONE).”
The lesson plan lists “priorities of life” as: 1) Hostages/victims; 2) Innocent Bystanders; 3) Police/deputies; and 4) Suspects. “If in doubt about going through the door after a suspect, think about the victims and where they stand on the list.”

Again, the lesson plan instructs officers to immediately confront a shooter.
Was Sheriff Israel even familiar with the "quad" and the lessons learned after Columbine?

Records also show that Israel is the second highest paid of Florida’s 67 sheriffs at $186,631 for Fiscal Year 2017/18. The sheriff was eligible for $2,000 in supplemental pay for completion of a 20-hour training course. In 2016, Israel received a warning letter that he had not successfully completed the course and his supplemental pay was being withheld.

Pressure on the vocal sheriff "to do the right thing" is mounting as we speak. While Israel criticizes everyone from local politicians to the NRA to his own officers, petitions and rallies for his resignation are mounting on social media and some, even, follow him into the street.

Israel put up a bizarre defense when asked by CNN's Jake Tapper if the shooting might not have happened had his department handled things differently. “Listen," he replied, "if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, O.J. Simpson would still be in the record books.”

Again, I ask, was Israel even familiar with the lessons learned after Columbine? This is a sheriff who didn't complete the active-shooter course. Didn't complete it. This isn't simply a mistake, it is gross negligence.  
Simply put, what these documents do is show the law enforcement agency failed the victims of the Parkland shooting.

Ignored warnings about shooter Nikolas Cruz aside -- as Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton already has pointed out, “The sheriff was fully aware of the threat this individual presented to his community and chose to ignore it” -- lives were lost in Parkland because the Sheriff's personnel were either poorly trained or failed to follow training protocols.

The buck stops with Scott Israel, a stunningly incompetent leader.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith. This commentary is based on the investigation of Judicial Watch, a conservative educational foundation and public watchdog.



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Please add to Sheriff Israel's resume the fiasco created by Sheriff Israel, his FBI pals and Wasserman-Schultz in dealing with the shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale Airport last year. Oh, and then there was the clever deal cooked up between the Broward School District (Superintendent Rumsey) and the Sheriff's office to decriminalize petty crimes committed mainly by children that result in school suspensions and expulsions. The reasoning for this move was to supposedly benefit the child by keeping him out of the law enforcement system to be mentored, etc. so he didn't become a criminal. Hmmm. The word is that this change in policy was actually put into effect to show a false reduction in the Broward County Juvenile crime statistic so the school district was eligible for more school funds. What a scam on the public. Let's not forget that Sheriff Israel found jobs in his department for many of his campaign workers once he was elected. It smelled, it stunk of favoritism and was duly reported at the time in the Sun Sentinel but there was no blow back that I'm aware of. Where are the Broward County Commissioners? Where are our School Board leaders, where are our local government officials? Where is the outcry from the citizenry? Just how much are we willing to take here in Broward County? If we keep electing the same corrupt, incompetent "leaders" because they are so good at setting up photo ops, handing out feel-good awards to deserving community service citizens who get out the vote for them, then don't complain. We only have ourselves to blame. We need brave, new Conservative candidates who are willing to stand up for our rights and give full voice and backing to our President's agenda to bring law and order back to our communities. We have a friend in the Federal Secretary of Education who wants to bring the best education to our kids here in Florida and wants to implement a comprehensive security program in all Florida schools. The last thing we need now are "resistance" local leaders who care more about their hate for this President than any verbalized concern for the safety our our children. We need to get rid of that awful State law that seems to protect the incumbent while making it almost impossible for any new candidate to get on the ballot. That "law" is so nutty, I can't even give you a definition here because it makes no sense. I think we've tried to get it overturned a couple of times but the State Supreme Court seems to be in bed with incumbent politicians in both parties. Next to California, Florida has to be the nations laughing stock when it comes to our State and Local politics. How long are we going to put up with the "good old boy" network that grabs headlines whenever a crisis presents itself? Gun control? Really? Sounds sexy but has nothing to do with what caused this horrible tragedy in Parkland. We all know that but are afraid to tell it like it is for fear we'll be ridiculed, etc. Sound familiar? We are still the deplorables, right? We've got a lot of work to do on a daily basis to keep our freedom. It is no time to sit back. I'm sure there will be those of you that think I'm way off base. So be it. Get out the vote. That is what we do when we disagree in this country.

This guy Isreal should never been hired from the get go hes a corrupt no good crook.

There is and will be a cloud over that Department until it is cleared up. The miserable failures fall on the head of the agency. It is a shame it doesn't work that way with politicians, but until he goes and new blood and accountability comes to the Department, there will continue to be a cloud of incompetence. The sad problem is when law enforcement fails, people lose their lives. It is in a word, unacceptable...

Let the voters decide.

Gov. Scott needs to remove Israel from office NOW.

Let the voters decide.

By not resigning to clear the air, he is showing the world what kind of a person he is....

You no longer get to be a "Sheriff" by JUST growing up watching "Barney Fife" (on TV) enforcing the law in "Mayberry";... Take Sheriff Scott Israel's "one bullet" away from him, and "send him packing" (for the sake of children,...everywhere) ! { Abolish the "GUN FREE ZONE" mindset ! "Legitimately" armed Citizens don't have to know "WHO" has the gun; UNTIL "the hammer drops" } The "uniform" doesn't "make the man",.. it only "points him out" to you; you don't have to 'search' for him.

I thought the officers were instructed to “stand down”? In any event, sitting on the sidelines when kids are being killed is unacceptable for everyone involved, and that includes Israel!

Israel's department had effectively been neutered by Obama-era policies. That was made worse by the fact they apparently adopted such policies willingly.

i'm sure after Investigation Done...His Problems will come to REALITY...His.Political Views instead of being a Law enforcement Officer KILLED Children in Parkland ....Word thur the Grapevine in Tallahassee He's In Big Trouble ..He politicalize the Sheriff Dept.Being Head SHERIFF

Maybe it is time to cast a wider view of other sheriffs in Florida. When Trump said *hit hole countries it occurred to me even in the grand and glorious United States there are *hit hole states. See if Jefferson Sessions has the manhood to lead law enforcement to Justice.

There is? Are you sure? Any news?

There is? Are you sure? Any news?

You can't hold Scott Israel accountable for things OTHER people did, unless these people get to keep their jobs. Fire the cowardly police officers. Clearly in the article it points out they were trained to do the right thing. Scott Israel should not have to hold their hand. THEY made stupid choices, HE did his job well. I would hate to be held accountable for what someone else has done or not done at my job. So unfair when he's clearly trained them correctly.

He gets to wear the 4 stars on his collar which means he is responsible for everything that occurs in his department. That' why he gets the big bucks. He can't have it both ways.

He gets to wear the 4 stars on his collar which means he is responsible for everything that occurs in his department. That' why he gets the big bucks. He can't have it both ways.

Israel is a CLOWN...not a law enforcement officer. He is the epitome of everything REAL law enforcement officers despise.

You've never served in the military, have you?

Respectfully disagree It is TOTALLY his responsibility..

Being a "talking head" on TV ONLY really requires poise and speaking ability (and in SOME cases, well styled blonde hair, good legs and "Manolo Blanco" shoes).

He is responsible for his dept. He failed to make it clear that his employees were to follow protocol and do their job witch is to protect the public, not hide behind cars and in doorways. HE MUST BE FIRED! HE IS A LOUSY LEADER.

Old fashioned idea Holding people responsible improves behavior I would hate to live under your idea a sheriff doing a good job, if you think Israel did a good job Israel failed many times and NOT just on 2/14

So where is AG Pam Bondi? Waiting for a camera to show up? She and Scott have been real disappointments And another suit launched against the Safe Schools bill as well as NRA suit

Your distraction is cute. Did you notice there’s a state investigation going on?

Comments are now closed.

nancy smith


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