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Is Broward County sheriff playing politics after murder suspect escapes from courthouse?

Commissioners says sheriff's statements 'show how weak he is'

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In his first words about a brazen escape of an alleged murderer, Sheriff Scott Israel didn’t address the public safety concerns and ongoing manhunt but instead placed blame on the Broward County Commmission and asked for money in his budget.

“If the county's listening,we need more money we need more people,” said Israel, who is currently asking for a whopping $55 million increase to his $780 million budget. “Philosophically there's a difference between Broward County and your sheriff. The county believes that my job is to save dollars. I believe my job is to save lives.”

Criticism from county commissioners was swift.

“Now is not the time to assign blame,” said Commissioner Tim Ryan. “At this critical time the suspect must be apprehended, then the sheriff should take a very close look at the number of deputies that he puts in high-risk courtroom and he should also take a very close look at the training and the experience of the deputies that he assigns to the high-risk courtrooms.”

Commissioner Chip LaMarca didn’t mince words, saying the sheriff’s statements at the conference were so inappropriate that he questions the quality Israel’s leadership.

“I’m disappointed,” said LaMarca. “Why would he talk about money when this is about saving lives and getting this suspect back under their supervision?”

When asked about the sheriff’s intimation that he and the other commissioners value money over lives.

“It’s not just an insult, it’s a lie,” said LaMarca, adding that the sheriff’s words “show how weak he is.”

Even the sheriff’s closest political ally on the commission, Marty Kiar, said the sheriff chose the wrong time to try to blame anyone or make a budgetary point.

“It’s too early to blame anyone for anything,” said Kiar. “We need the facts. The focus needs to be solely on finding the person who escaped.”

LaMarca repeatedly said he felt that the sheriff was “deflecting blame” after murder suspect Dayonte Resiles escape from a courtroom this morning. Resiles managed to get past two sheriff’s bailiffs and shed his shackles, handcuffs, and jumpsuit before escaping through a north door at the Broward County Courthouse.

“The buck stops at the top and he’s the leading law enforcement professional in the Broward County,” said LaMarca.

Budget talks are expected to continue in September after the commission returns from summer break.