Gov. Ron DeSantis' plane makes emergency landing in St. Petersburg

12 January, 2019, 22:56 | Author: Wade Massey
  • VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who faced criticism over his department's response to the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting previous year, was officially suspended by newly sworn-in Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday.

The Governor and others were on their way to Broward County where they were expected to announce the suspension and replacement of Sheriff Scott Israel.

A retired Coral Springs police sergeant will take the helm of the Broward Sheriff's Office.

On Friday, DeSantis denied any political motivation, saying Israel's removal was about accountability and keeping children safe. Rick Scott, had refused to suspend the sheriff, saying he wanted to wait until investigations were complete before deciding.

DeSantis, a Republican elected to the office in November and sworn in earlier this week, criticized the sheriff during his campaign and had signaled that he would have likely removed Israel from office.

According to an "after action report" from Israel, the BSO's 30-year-old radio system went down because it was overwhelmed during the Fort Lauderdale shooting that left five dead and six wounded.

Though Sheriff Israel claimed he showed exceptional leadership, the report stated that his subordinates were not properly trained while using outdated radio technology that hindered communication during the shooting. By April, DeSantis told supporters he would have suspended Israel if he had been governor at the time of the shooting.

Tony was recommended by Andrew Pollack, father of the late Meadow Pollack, who was killed in the February 14, 2018, Parkland school shooting.

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Under Florida law, the governor can suspend elected officials for criminal activity, misfeasance, incompetence or neglect of duty.

"The people of Broward County deserve accountable, competent leaders who can safeguard our communities", said Governor Ron DeSantis.

The heat increased after it was learned the sheriff's office received and disregarded a call in 2016 and another in 2017 warning that suspect Nikolas Cruz, now 20, was a potential school shooter. "39 visits. And this was known to the intelligence and law enforcement community".

Kaplan said he had advised Israel only to make a statement and to answer no questions.

Israel had faced fierce criticism for almost a year over his agency's response to the rampage that claimed the lives of 14 students and three staff members.

The attorney declined to say whether Israel can collect a pension for his years as sheriff.

In response, Israel told the commission that he didn't want deputies entering into "suicide missions", according to the Associated Press. He criticized the draft, and the final version was less harsh - but numerous same communications problems that plagued the airport response were repeated at Stoneman Douglas.

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