Opa-locka officials clash over plan to hire Scott Israel as police chief

City manager says he's happy with current head of police department

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – As the city of Opa-locka emerges from past government corruption scandals, the city is facing new drama -- a new commissioner wants to replace the city’s police chief with suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

The connections, if any, between Opa-locka Commissioner Alvin Burke and the former Sheriff, if any, are unclear, but Burke raised the issue last month, prompting an email response from the city manager, who runs city operations and has the sole discretion in hiring and firing.

“First of all, I’m not going to fire the Chief. And second, I can’t consider Mr. Israel, because he’s been removed by the Governor,” said City Manager Newall Daughtrey.

Scott Israel is in the process of fighting his suspension, in an upcoming Florida Supreme Court hearing and then likely in state Senate hearings, as a politically motivated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis removed him in January citing negligence and incompetence related to the murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017.

Since that day, Israel has said his sole focus was to return to lead the Broward Sheriff’s Department.

The city of Opa-Locka, plagued by government corruption scandals under past administrations, remains under state financial oversight as a result of prior mismanagement and missed audits. That means any new hiring could be subject to the approval of DeSantis.

“It would be total disrespect for me to hire someone that the governor has suspended,” Daughtrey said.

With the manager’s refusal to consider making Scott Israel the Opa-Locka police chief, Burke has added a call to terminate Manager Daughtrey to the agenda for the city commission meeting Wednesday evening. 

Burke did not respond to phone calls or texts.

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