Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel does not have the confidence of his deputies in southern Florida, according to a union vote Thursday.
The Broward Sheriff's Office Deputies Association voted no confidence in Israel by a count of 534 to 94, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The deputies held the vote in response to Israel’s handling of the Parkland school shooting, even though union president Jeff Bell said members face possible retaliation from Israel.
"Members have displayed great courage to come out and vote under threat of retaliation and reprisal from the sheriff," Bell said.
Bell added that he wants to present the union’s claim to Gov. Rick Scott (R.) to ask him to "please make change and replace the sheriff with somebody who is capable of amazing leadership."
Israel accused the deputies of ulterior motives.
"I will not be distracted from my duties by this inconsequential IUPA [International Union of Police Associations] union vote, which was designed to extort a 6.5 percent pay raise from this agency," Israel said in a statement. "Those who purportedly voted in this straw ballot reflect only a small number of the 5,400 BSO employees. The unions representing the vast majority of our employees solidly support the leadership of this agency."
The union said its reasons for the vote were the Sheriff’s Office’s response to the shooting, Israel’s reaction to criticism leveled against him after the shooting, as well as other factors, such as a fuel deal with Napa Auto Parts.
Another union, the Federation of Public Employees, voted 1,111 to 38 in support of Israel. That union praised Israel for his relationship with its bargaining unit.
The governor has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an investigation into law enforcement's response to the shooting. Israel’s post is elected, and he may be removed from the position depending on the investigation’s findings.