Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel faces off with current Sheriff Gregory Tony

Democratic candidates attend NAACP forum in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It was the first time that the current sheriff of Broward County had a conversation with the former sheriff.

The former sheriff introduced himself and received a warm reception Thursday at St. Christopher Episcopal Church.

"My name is Scott Israel, and I am your elected sheriff of Broward County," he said.

Current Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony was there to defend his own role as Broward County's top law enforcement official.

"There have been discussions and rambling about your elected Sheriff Scott was removed," Tony said. "I have no interest in that battle. I'm here to serve you as best as I can."

The two men join a list of nine candidates who have filed to run for Broward County sheriff next year. Five candidates showed up at the forum to sway potential voters. Just the Democratic candidates for the Broward Sheriff's Office position were debating the issues at a forum hosted by the NAACP.

"We need somebody that's gonna step up and show out for the community and that leader is Willie Jones," he said.

Candidate Andrew Smalling also said, "We need leadership in the Broward Sheriff's Office, and because of my background, I know I can provide that leadership."

"They need someone to come in and lead the agency with experience," Al Pollock said. "I have that experience."

The group debated school safety, community policing and other issues, such as experience, which was mixed with some not so subtle jabs at Tony. The current Broward County sheriff was hand-picked by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in January after Israel's sudden removal due to fallout from to his agency's handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland in February 2018.

"I know the sheriff's trying to do the best job he can, but because of his inexperience and only having two years as a sergeant, he brought boxing and martial arts training," Israel said.

Tony countered by saying, "We have over 200 years of command experience and that's never been done before. We made a lot of changes to make sure we have an agency that’s reflective of the community that we serve."

The final decision of who will be the next elected Broward County sheriff will be up to voters.

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