FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Emails obtained by Local 10 News show that the Broward Sheriff’s Office was told bottles of hand sanitizer could be delivered within 15-17 days — or 22 days with a custom label.
That’s exactly what has become the question: Did BSO choose to delay the order of hand sanitizers to put their logo and Sheriff Gregory Tony’s name on the bottles?
A no-confidence vote is underway against Tony, stemming from concerns over how well-equipped deputies are for duty during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It would be problematic if there was a delay or a lapse in getting those [sanitizers] in the hand of our deputies and our first responders because of the turnaround time for production,” said Eric Schwartzreich, an attorney for the deputies union.
A spokesperson for the sheriff says that Tony was not aware of the purchase details for those hand sanitizers and that they are looking into who gave the final approval for them.
In photos provided to Local 10 News, bottles of hand sanitizer can be seen branded with the BSO logo and Tony’s name on them.
Local 10 News spoke by phone with Stacey Berins, president and CEO of Hero Solutions, the company listed in the email regarding BSO’s order of 10-ounce and 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizers.
She confirmed the legitimacy of the email and said that it would have been quicker to send out the bottles without a custom logo by about five days.
Berins said that BSO was one of the first law enforcement agencies to order hand sanitizers from her company.
“No one was scrambling the way BSO was a month ago,” she said.
Questions about the bottles and their labels add to the ongoing saga between Tony and the deputies’ union president, Jeff Bell, whom the sheriff suspended and accused of politicizing the coronavirus crisis.
The no-confidence vote was called by the union, which sent a letter to its members. Those sanitizer bottles were among the allegations inside the letter.
“It is unconscionable that the delivery of desperately needed hand sanitizers would be delayed intentionally for political promotional reasons,” the letter said.
Tony said last week that this clash with the union is political.
“We do not have time to play games with politics when we are in a major crisis,” he said.
At last check Tuesday, there were 72 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within BSO. Another 69 employees are being monitored.