Deputies have no confidence in Broward County sheriff, deputies union says

Sheriff says vote attempt to extort 6.5 percent pay raise from BSO

By Carlos Suarez - Anchor/Reporter, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter

PLANTATION, Fla. - Broward Sheriff's Office deputies have no confidence in Sheriff Scott Israel, the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association said Thursday at a news conference.

A total of 534 union members voted no confidence, while 94 said they had confidence in the sheriff.

Union President Jeff Bell told reporters that he placed a courtesy call to let the sheriff know about the results of the vote. He said the call went to voicemail.

Bell said Thursday marked the union's first vote of no confidence against a sheriff.

"I am accountable to the citizens of Broward County," Israel said in a statement after the news conference. "My job is to continue to do the job I was elected to do, which is to ensure the safety of Broward County's 1.9 million residents.

"I will not be distracted from my duties by this inconsequential IUPA union vote, which was designed to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from this agency. Those who purportedly voted in this straw ballot reflect only a small number of the 5,400 BSO employees. The unions representing the vast majority of our employees solidly support the leadership of this agency."

Israel previously spoke to reporters earlier Thursday at an annual memorial service for fallen heroes.

"My focus has always been on protecting Broward County," he said. "We have a phenomenal relationship with our community."

Ahead of Israel's remarks, the Broward Sheriff's Office honored law enforcement and first responders from a number of agencies and departments across South Florida. 

Deputies paid tribute to 33 fallen heroes in a ceremony outside BSO headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. The event included a roll call and a video tribute, as well as a flyover and a 21-gun salute. 

Israel talked about the dedication and courage the fallen made and showed to their families and communities. 

Afterward, he talked about the no-confidence vote.

The vote was called by a union representing rank-and-file deputies over the Sheriff's Office's response to the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre and the sheriff's response to the criticism leveled against him in the wake of the shooting. 

"I denied them a 6.5 percent raise, which would have been twice the amount of any other member of the agency. So, it's appalling and shameful, not to file a vote, but to bring in Parkland," Israel said about the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association.

About 1,300 deputies are represented by the union. 

Two other unions, including one that represents the largest number of BSO employees, have expressed their support for the sheriff.

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