Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Sheriff Al Lamberti's Final Days In Office
Broward Sheriff's Office's top cop, Sheriff Al Lamberti is still in shock after losing in the November election. Tonight, he's spending his holiday preparing to leave office, and he's sharing some parting words with The Nightteam's Carmel Cafiero.
Al Lamberti: "You know, it's never happened before. In 97 years no other sheriff has risen up through the ranks to lead the Broward Sheriff's Office."
Lamberti started at BSO working at the jail. By the eighties he had moved to the organized crime division during the wild cocaine cowboy days.
His fight against illegal drugs continued, when, as sheriff, he was among the first in law enforcement to recognize and take action against pill mills.
Charlie Crist: "The great man that has been serving as Interim Sheriff of Broward County is named Al Lamberti. And I just told him that he is now the Sheriff of Broward County."
In 2007, Lamberti was appointed to the post by Governor Charlie Crist. He took over after former Sheriff Ken Jenne was busted for corruption.
Al Lamberti: "When I came into the position, obviously it was a very unstable time."
He says it was a difficult time, not only for the department, but for the public as well. Lamberti was later elected to the post.
Al Lamberti: "We had to restore the confidence of the public. The public has to have confidence in their chief law enforcement in this county."
And for five years he's run the massive organization. There were a few bumps in the road. He got a lot of flack for allowing his son to get credentials for the Super Bowl, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
And questions were raised over relationships between top BSO officials and Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. However, Rothstein had conned many in Broward County who had no idea what he was doing.
This year, Lamberti lost his reelection bid to Scott Israel. He's still surprised by the defeat.
Al Lamberti: "It's stunning, because I think we had a lot of support out there."
At his last public appearance, an award ceremony, Lamberti wished members of his department much success, and left them with some final thoughts.
Al Lamberti: "Stay committed to your families. Two: stay true to your oath. Number three: stay focused on your job. And number four: please stay safe."
The Sheriff, meanwhile, has come to terms with the end of his BSO career.
Al Lamberti: "I'm prepared to move on with the rest of my life. I've been here for 35 years. It's been an honor and a privilege for me to serve as a sheriff."
He says he's not sure what he'll do next, but that he hears there's an opening at the CIA.
Al Lamberti may have lost the election, but clearly not his sense of humor.
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