Broward County has a new sheriff
SUNRISE, Fla. (WSVN) -- There's a new sheriff in town.
About 5,000 people gathered at the Faith Center in Sunrise Tuesday as Broward County's new Sheriff, Scott Israel, was sworn in by Judge Ilona Holmes. "It's been a long time coming," Holmes said. "Are you ready to do this? Can you please raise your right hand?"
Before his swearing in, Israel went around shaking hands with the crowd of people who gathered to honor him as the most powerful elected official in Broward County. He will be supervising 5,400 personnel with a budget bursting at the seams at $700 million.
"We need to bring a cultural change to the agency," Israel said regarding his intent to turn the Broward Sheriff's Office into a more diversified entity. "We must bring diversity to the entire agency. We must look like Broward County."
The former North Bay Village police chief made sure to thank his triplets, Brett, Blake and Blair, and his wife Susan for their help in winning a bitterly fought election, Israel's second attempt to seek the coveted position. "I feel great, really great, just excited, phenomenal day for our family," he said after the ceremony. "I feel real good."
Israel enters his post with a certain amount of controversy. He got rid of about 28 top supervisors, including the department's chaplain. He has also threatened to demote some sergeants. "Our cultural change begins today," said Israel in his speech, "by me demanding-- not asking, not requesting-- by me demanding that our leaders never rule by fear, intimidation or retaliation."
Israel replaces Sheriff Al Lamberti who, after 35 years with the BSO, spent part of his last day at a retirement party for one of his majors. He becomes the only sheriff to have worked his way up from patrolman all the way to sheriff. He refused to switch to the Democratic Party, which dominates Broward County. Israel switched parties and won the election.
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