Police union votes no confidence for Florida sheriff after Parkland

The Florida sheriff who oversaw the response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland earlier this year received a no-confidence vote from a police union on Thursday.

The Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association voted 534-94 to express no confidence in Sheriff Scott Israel, asking Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to remove him from office. 


“Members have displayed great courage to come out and vote under threat of retaliation and reprisal from the sheriff," the union's president Jeff Bell said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Bell said the union would next request the governor to “please make change and replace the sheriff with somebody who is capable of amazing leadership.”

“Amazing leadership starts from the top, and there is no amazing leadership here. We are a ship out at sea with no power — adrift," Bell said. 

Israel released a statement after the vote, saying the vote represents a small portion of police employees in Broward County. 

“I am accountable to the citizens of Broward County,” Israel said, in a statement reported by the Sun-Sentinel.

"My job is to continue to do the job I was elected to do, which is to ensure the safety of Broward County’s 1.9 million residents," he said. "I will not be distracted from my duties by this inconsequential IUPA union vote, which was designed to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from this agency. Those who purportedly voted in this straw ballot reflect only a small number of the 5,400 employees. The unions representing the vast majority of our employees solidly support the leadership of this agency.”

Scott's office issued a statement saying he was "aware of the police union's vote" and emphasizing that "the appropriate steps will be taken" once an investigation concludes.

“[Scott] believes that people must be held accountable for the reported failures in response to the school shooting in Parkland, which is why he immediately called for a full and systematic FDLE investigation into the matter," Scott's communications director John Tupps said in a statement to The Hill.

"Once that investigation is complete, and we have all the facts, the appropriate steps will be taken to hold people accountable. Governor Scott is absolutely disgusted the BSO deputy did not rush into the school to save these victims," Tupps added.

Tension has reportedly been brewing between Israel and his deputies since the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., which took the lives of 17 people in February. 

Israel has been criticized for his department's failure to prevent the shooting despite numerous red flags raised about the suspected shooter.

The sheriff told CNN's Jake Tapper earlier this year that he demonstrated "amazing leadership."

“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I've given amazing leadership to this agency," he said.

Updated: 7:57 p.m.