Broward Sheriff’s Office faces challenges as staffing shortages from COVID hit hard

More than 300 staffers, including deputies and civilians, are out sick with COVID-19, but the head of BSO says it is not an "operational failure."

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff’s Office will be on duty during one of the busiest holidays for people to be out on the road – New Year’s Eve.

But there may not be quite as many as usual due to staffing problems. BSO has been especially hard hit by COVID-19.

126 deputies and civilians in its law enforcement department are out sick with COVID-19. So are 134 workers in the Department of Detention, i.e. the county jails.

And 48 employees are out sick in BSO’s communications division.

Sheriff Gregory Tony said the illnesses within BSO simply reflect the problems in societY at large.

“We are not dealing with an operational failure. The men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office are not immune to the suffering of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tony said.

It’s bad enough that personal leave for BSO deputies has been cancelled, along with all training.

An internal memo obtained by Local 10 quotes a lieutenant warning of “a critical emergency staffing issue.” Another internal memo shows short staffing in the BSO Central District, where shifts are down by 12 to 27 deputies.

In April 2020, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy Shannon Bennett was the first South Florida first responder to die from COVID.