Every law enforcement agency has a few meat-eaters.
These are hyper-focused, switched-on men and women who lead their department in felony arrests and citizen complaints.
They hate rules, red tape and supervisors, because they interfere with their primary mission: protecting the innocent and putting bad guys in jail.
When they’re off duty, they’re either training at a range or a martial arts class, or drinking whiskey in a bar, surrounded, of course, but other meat-eaters.
They work in patrol, street drugs, gang units or SWAT. Few ever see stripes.
For them, law enforcement is not just a career, it’s a lifestyle.
Everyone at their agency knows who the meat-eaters are.
They are the type of crime-crushers you can always depend on — exactly the type that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel should have made damn sure were assigned to safeguard the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the Valentine’s Day massacre, which killed 17 people, including 14 students.
The good sheriff should have sent his best people to the world’s most infamous school.
Sadly, he did not.
On Monday at around 5 p.m., a student caught a Broward County deputy sleeping in his patrol car at the school. The student notified another deputy. A sergeant had to tap on the glass to wake the deputy, who was immediately relieved and placed on paid leave until internal affairs can investigate his actions.
The sheriff’s lack of leadership and his unwillingness to inculcate in his staff of the need to make sure that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the safest school in the country is endangering the lives of the students and the teachers.
Here is a list of security breaches and a questionable action by the sheriff that happened just this week:
- On Monday, the shooter’s brother was caught skateboarding through the school — during the middle of the school day. He told investigators he wanted to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in.” He was charged with trespass and is currently being held on a $500,000 bond, considered an extreme threat to the school.
- On Tuesday, two students were arrested on weapons charges. One student had a knife concealed in her bra. Another had pulled a knife on a school bus.
- Also Tuesday, detectives arrested a 10th grader who allegedly made threats against the school on social media. He posted pictures on social media in which he had a gun tucked in his waistband.
- On Tuesday, Sheriff Israel announced he would not cooperate with a multi-agency task force that Broward County is putting together to review the mass shooting. Instead of joining the probe organized by county officials — his own county officials — Israel told the media that he’s waiting for a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement before doing anything else. The FDLE report, he admitted, could take months.
Evidently, Gov. Rick Scott has had enough. Yesterday, he announced that he would be willing to send in state troopers to help safeguard the school.
“Recent events at the school have demonstrated the need for additional security measures to be implemented,” Scott said.
Sheriff Israel quickly accepted the governor’s offer.
“Who would turn down help from another agency that wants to help out with the mindset of keeping Broward safe?” Israel told the Sun Sentinel. “The governor has always been here for Broward County since I’ve been sheriff. I appreciate the offer and I’m looking forward to meeting with the appropriate personnel at the Florida Highway Patrol to integrate the agencies.”
Scott has said he is waiting for FDLE’s report before taking any action. Many assume this means removing the sheriff, which only the governor has the authority to do.
My question is this: Why wait?
I understand that Scott is a Republican and Israel is a Democrat, and that the governor doesn’t want to appear to be playing partisan politics if he removes the Sheriff, but this would be a life-and-death decision, not a political one.
I hope the governor removes the sheriff quickly before another life is lost.
The sheriff had his chance and he failed, again.