FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A second deputies union came out in support of the embattled Broward County sheriff Saturday after the largest deputies union called for a vote of no confidence against Scott Israel.
Eddison Ricketts, president of the the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 53, wrote a letter to Israel Saturday.
"I want to reassure you that we have complete confidence in your abilities to lead the Broward Sheriff's Office today and beyond," Ricketts said.
The Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association announced Friday that the group, which represents 1,325 deputies, more than half of the county's 2,560 certified deputies, would hold a vote of no confidence.
Deputy Jeff Bell, who also serves as president of the Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association, said the vote was driven by how Israel handled the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Voting, done electronically, will wrap up Thursday.
Israel called the vote "unfortunate and appalling" and characterized it as a bargaining tactic to "extort" the county into giving the deputies a pay raise.
Israel has been widely criticized for his agency's response to the Valentine's Day mass shooting that left 17 people dead.
Officials at another county police union, the Broward County Police Benevolent Association, said they are for the results of an independent investigation before passing judgment.
"This is the work of another union and does not represent how the members of the PBA feel," said Bob Lahiff, director of BSO membership services. "We will let the (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) investigation continue and not jump to judgments, as others have done."
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