'I shall return very soon,' DeSantis says amid speculation about Israel's future

Will Florida's new governor suspend Broward County sheriff?

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Terrell Forney - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis didn't have much to say about Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel during a news conference Wednesday in Miami.

"All I can say is, to the people of South Florida, I shall return very soon," DeSantis answered when asked if he intends to suspend the embattled two-term sheriff.

Israel has been under intense scrutiny over perceived failures by the Broward Sheriff's Office response to last year's Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Much of the mistakes are outlined in the lengthy Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission report finalized last week.

Some parents of Parkland victims have been pushing for the sheriff's removal.

"Now that he got elected, we're going to see some accountability," Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was also killed, told Local 10 News in Tallahassee, where he was attending DeSantis' inauguration.

As South Florida newspapers reported that executive action had been taken against the sheriff, Israel and his attorney told Local 10 News they haven't been contacted by the governor or from anyone in his office.

However, two sources confirmed to Local 10 News on Wednesday that the sheriff has privately met with his top command staff, offering them the option to submit their resignations should a suspension happen. 

The move would allow the veteran commanding deputies to preserve their pensions in case of a major shakeup or firing.

Israel s maintaining a relatively low profile, although he tweeted a photo this week while signing an agreement with Broward County Public Schools to grant deputies the authority to access live feeds from school security cameras -- something that hampered response efforts in Parkland during the initial tense moments.

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