Outgoing Broward sheriff looks back on 35-year career
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Sheriff Al Lamberti is set to step out of his green and white uniform for the last time. The veteran law enforcer ended his stint as Broward County's top cop, a position he filled since 2007, Monday.
"I've spent more than half my life at the Broward Sheriff's Office," said Lamberti. "It's the only real job I've ever had," he continued. Lamberti has been in the BSO's employ for 35 years.
Lamberti started running the streets of Broward County in a police cruiser in 1977. "The raw part of the job, that was always the most fun," he said.
Even as a rank and file deputy, Lamberti had his eye on becoming sheriff, a position he pursued aggressively for years. "I tried to show my son, who was 13 at the time," he said, "don't ever let anybody tell you that you can't do something."
After 30 years as a deputy, Lamberti got what he had worked for in 2007, when Governor Charlie Crist personally picked him for the job. His predecessor had been ousted on corruption charges, so he felt the need to improve the department's image at the time. "To restore the integrity of the agency during a turbulent time, I felt we needed someone from within the agency to ride it and get it going," he said.
According to Lamberti, on his watch, BSO cracked down on rampant gun squads, pill mills and pain clinics doling out drugs. The worst days, he said, were when the department lost one of their own. "When a deputy is killed in the line of duty on my watch, I know it's going to stay with me for the rest of my life."
Surprisingly, Lamberti revealed that the best day of his career happened two months ago, the night he lost his job to opponent Scott Israel Nov. 6. "My son sent me a message on my Facebook page, 'Everybody in this county can call you Sheriff, but I'm the only one that can call you Dad,'" he said.
Lamberti insisted he's saying goodbye to his law enforcement career with no regrets. Now that he's hanging up his uniform, he indicated only one part of his identity will change. "I don't know what I'm going to do," he said. "I didn't think I'd find myself in this predicament, but I'll decide that tomorrow."
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