Broward sheriff fires deputies union president after internal affairs investigation

A 200-page internal affairs investigation document lays out why Broward Sheriff's Office union president has been fired.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association and a deputy with the sheriff’s office has been fired, according to Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. This follows a months-long internal affairs investigation about statements BSO Deputies Association, IUPA President Jeff Bell made to the media and publicly about the department not providing proper protection against the coronavirus, according to the report.

Tony and BSO released a 200-page report to the media Thursday about the ongoing investigation which began in April after it was alleged Bell violated policies and other offenses related to his position with BSO.

Bell was vocal about Tony and his handling during the coronavirus crisis of doing enough to protect his deputies.

The complaint said that Bell had provided “false narratives to multiple media outlets that the agency failed to provide personal protective equipment to its employees.” Also cited in the complaint was that Bell showed a lack of discretion, conduct unbecoming, corrupt practices, and truthfulness, among others.

Bell as union president has been Tony’s adversary almost from the beginning of the sheriff’s appointment on January 11, 2019. At one point, Bell asked Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed Tony to remove him from the top cop position.

On April 6, 2020, the Broward Sheriff’s Office Division of Internal Affairs began the investigation involving Bell and on April 10, he was suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Tony alleged that Bell’s actions violated department rules and regulations and interfered with BSO”s relationship and work in the community. Bell had gone public in newspapers and news stations, like Local 10, and radio with allegations against the department including that there was a shortage of PPE to keep officers COVID safe.

Tony sat down with Local 10 News Thursday to talk about the investigation and the final decision on his firing.

“Comments that he made, things that he wrote, the efforts that he had taken that were not exposed in the media to really impact not just me but create a harm into the community is a result of why the professional standards committee said it’s time for him to go,” Tony said.

Local 10 News asked Tony why Bell wouldn’t be protected by free speech.

“I don’t want to get in the dance of free speech, but what I will tell you is that every single one of our employees here, including myself, are responsible for complying with the Sheriff’s Policy Manual, which is our rules and regulations,” Tony said.

The report also documents text messages disparaging Tony sent to Hunter Pollack, who became a school activist after his sister, Meadow, was among those murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in February of 2018.

No comment from Bell on Thursday but in the past, he has mentioned the possibility of an unfair labor practice lawsuit.

(See the 200-page report below)

(This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Local 10 News and for updates.)

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of's DigiShorts.