PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Larry Scirotto’s recent experience may sound familiar to the former Miami police chief. He was hired and tasked with the mission to bring diversity to the police department. It didn’t take long for him to meet resistance and get fired.
During This Week In South Florida on Sunday, the former chief of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said he stands behind all of the decisions he made during his short tenure.
“The diversity and inclusion that I was hired to bring to the organization didn’t mean that I would find or promote less qualified candidates,” Scirotto said. “The minority candidates that were promoted were exceptionally qualified; they just were exceptionally qualified and happened to be a member of a protected class.”
Four police officers filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints alleging that the chief had promoted others unfairly. Attorney Gregg Rossman’s investigation for the city reported “many” believed that Scirotto’s promotions were based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.
“To have an observation and time just construed as a statement of being too light was just factually inaccurate, and it was a narrative created by those very same people that didn’t welcome my arrival from the beginning,” Scirotto said.
When Chris Lagerbloom, Fort Lauderdale’s city manager, announced Scirotto’s firing, he released a statement saying it was a decision that was made after Rossman released his report.
“The cause of my termination was they believed I participated in discriminatory practices for a promotion ... which is inaccurate in every way ... false in every way,” Scirotto said adding, “some of the insiders” had “the ability to influence City Hall.”
Scirotto’s supporters are fighting to get him reinstated and he is hoping that Lagerbloom reassesses his decision.
“I love the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the people that work there, the men and women are great, great advocates’ great service to our city,” Scirotto said. “I love the community.”
Lagerbloom announced Scirott’s hiring in June and the firing on March 3. Scirotto’s swear-in ceremony was on Aug. 16.
“Reinstatement is an option,” Scirotto said.
Complete episode of This Week In South Florida
Local 10 News’ Sarah Ramdin contributed to this report.