If there were Olympic medals awarded for cluelessness, the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) would take home the gold. As the agency has been the focus of criticism for failures before, during, and after the February 14th shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the agency — and its leader Broward Sheriff Scott Israel — have repeatedly appeared out of touch. The latest activity on the BSO Twitter account is a frustratingly perfect illustration of this.
An incomplete recap of the infuriating news reports coming from Broward County includes dozens of visits to the shooter’s home by BSO deputies that never resulted in an arrest, the county’s policy of avoiding juvenile arrests even for serious and violent crimes, the failure of BSO deputies to enter the school during the shooting and engage the shooter, Israel’s efforts in the aftermath of the shooting to demonize the NRA and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at a CNN townhall and scapegoat his own deputies, the shooter’s brother being arrested on campus barely a month later and a BSO deputy getting caught sleeping in his car while on duty that same day at Stoneman Douglas…I could go on.
It was little surprise that the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association delivered a landslide “no confidence” vote against Israel in April, asking Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) to remove him from his office.
Seventeen students and teachers were killed, and seventeen more injured in the February 14th shooting, and local and national media have dropped a torrent of stories about incompetence at the BSO virtually every single week since.
So if you’re the BSO, what kind of outreach do you try to show your community you take seriously the job of keeping them safe?
If you said, get a shiny new sports car and tweet about it, you should send your resume to Sheriff Israel, because you’ll fit right in.
Seriously. That’s what they did last night, tweeting a photo of a shiny new metallic green Dodge Charger.
“Our new [Dodge Charger],” said the tweet. “Do you like the paint job?”
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) June 24, 2018
It’s not entirely clear how the BSO acquired the car, whether it was purchased outright, the subject of a civil asset forfeiture, or donated. I reached out to the BSO Public Information Officer to ask but have not yet received a reply.
The car has the front reinforced bumper common on police cars but that clearly isn’t the official paint job, or even a standard paint option for the Dodge Charger. Even without taking into consideration the fancy custom paint, it’s clearly a new or nearly new vehicle. The Dodge website lists their various 2018 Charger models as selling for roughly $30,000 to nearly $70,000, depending on options.
Whether the car was purchased by the BSO, donated, or seized as part of an asset forfeiture action, the flashiness and obvious expense led many to question whether this was a good use of BSO resources. Parkland student Kyle Kashuv tweeted along these lines, saying the money would be better spent on training:
No, I'd prefer you do your job and not let kids die. Maybe spend the money on… training? Just a thought. https://t.co/8isBulzzlf
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) June 25, 2018
The tweet and photo are even more tone deaf as a reminder of one of the most heartbreaking reports on the day of the shooting: that multiple BSO deputies remained hunkered down behind their patrol cars in the parking lot during the shooting, instead of going into the school to confront the shooter.
Yes it’s beautiful. It will look stunning sitting in school parking lots and not doing anything https://t.co/Fwr7xar3oW
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) June 25, 2018
Your officers do a lot of dodging but very little charging. https://t.co/SFuK2AoSD3
— neontaster (@neontaster) June 25, 2018
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
[Cross-posted at The Capitolist.]