by WorldTribune Staff, February 25, 2018
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told CNN on Feb. 25 that he has taken the department to a “new level” and that his leadership has been nothing short of “amazing.”
Israel made the comments despite Broward County confirming that deputies had received at least 18 calls from 2008 to 2017 warning them about Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz.
“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?” CNN host Jake Tapper asked.
Israel responded: “Jake, I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency.”
“Amazing leadership? Tapper asked.
“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.”
Tapper said: “Maybe you measure somebody’s leadership by whether or not they protect the community. 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.”
Israel said in “16 of those cases,” his deputies did everything right and in the five years he had been sheriff he had taken the department to a “new level.”
Israel had announced on Feb. 22 that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer Scot Peterson had been suspended and decided to retire rather than be terminated after learning Peterson failed to enter the school during the shooting.
“One person didn’t do what he should have done,” Israel said. “It’s horrific. The victims here, the families, I pray for them every night. It makes me sick to my stomach that we had a deputy that didn’t go in because I know if I was there, if I was on the wall, I would have been the first in along with so many other people.”
In February 2016, neighbors told police they were worried Cruz “planned to shoot up the school.”
Asked by Tapper “How could there not even be a report on this one?”, Israel responded “If that’s accurate, Jake, there needed to be a report and that’s what we’re looking in to, that a report needed to be completed, it needed to be forwarded to our homeland security or violent crimes unit and they would’ve followed up on it.”