Broward County Sheriff Claims He's Provided 'Amazing Leadership' Despite Office's Failings

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, foreground, speaks along with Sheriff Scott Israel, center, of Broward County, and Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, during a news conference near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a former student is suspected of killing at least 17 people Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. The shooting at a South Florida high school sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. Police were warning that the shooter was still at large even as ambulances converged on the scene and emergency workers appeared to be treating those possibly wounded. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

As a former Navy man, I always look to the top when it comes to success or failure. The man in charge is ultimately responsible for everything that goes on in his organization, and I tend to judge a man by how he deals with that. A good man takes responsibility for the failings and works to fix them. Others…not so much.

One of those others is Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

While the Sheriff has made the most of his time in the limelight, he’s mostly been allowed to skate under the radar for his many failings. However, CNN’s Jake Tapper wasn’t going to let that continue indefinitely.

Tapper noted Israel’s conditional remarks, pointing out it was notes from Israel’s own department. Israel responded the officer who handled that situation was on restrictive duty.

“I’ve exercised my due diligence, I’ve led this county proudly as I always have,” he said. “We have restricted that deputy as we look in to it. You know, deputies make mistakes, police officers make mistakes, we all make mistakes, but it’s not the responsibility of the general or the president if you have a deserter. You look into this. We’re looking into this aggressively, and we’ll take care of it and justice will be served.”

“Are you really not taking any responsibility for the multiple red flags that were brought to the attention of the Broward Sheriff’s Office about this shooter before the incident?” Tapper asked.

“Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency—” Israel started.

“Amazing leadership? Tapper asked incredulously.

“Yes, Jake. There’s a lot of things we’ve done throughout this—this is—you don’t measure a person’s leadership by a deputy not going into—these deputies received the training they needed—” Israel said.

“Maybe you measure somebody’s leadership by whether or not they protect the community,” Tapper said. “In this case, you’ve listed 23 incidents before the shooting involving the shooter and still nothing was done to keep guns out of his hands, to make sure that the school was protected, to make sure you were keeping an eye on him … I don’t understand how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.”

I’m with Tapper. “Amazing leadership?” Seriously?

The Broward County Sheriff’s office is at the forefront of organizations who dropped the ball here, and he thinks he’s provided amazing leadership? No. Just…no.

What Israel has provided is a department whose deputies refused to enter an active shooter situation while kids were inside, being gunned down by a maniac. That same maniac who his department had encountered dozens of times. Tapper mentioned that Israel listed 23 prior incidents involving the future shooter, while CNN said the number was 39. Regardless, that’s a lot of interactions, at least some of which may well have been sufficient in keeping the shooter from owning a firearm.

Yet they did nothing.

To make matters worse, Israel is ignoring the failings of his department–failings he, as sheriff, is directly responsible for–and has instead gone on an anti-gun crusade.

I’m sorry, but when you fail at your job so spectacularly, you really don’t have any business pretending you’re the voice of authority on anything. At all.