A Message from Sheriff Scott Israel
BSO'S DIVERSE WORKFORCE – A REFLECTION OF OUR COMMUNITY
Since taking office as sheriff of Broward County, my goal has been to broaden the diversity within our agency. I believe the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) should reflect the multicultural community we serve. I have always based decisions about assignments, transfers or promotions on the qualifications of the individual and the skills he or she brings to the job – regardless of race, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. When decisions are made based on merit, diversity happens naturally.
One of the greatest challenges facing public safety agencies around the country is that many departments don't truly reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. This problem causes a breakdown in trust, leading often – in the aftermath of tragic incidents – to unrest and other problems.
Today, I am proud to say that the percentage of minorities employed in sworn positions at BSO is greater than the percentage of minorities in Broward County's population as a whole. This diversity is reflected among all ranks in our agency, all the way to the top of our command staff. The deputies on the street protecting our community every day are also protecting their own community – they are our neighbors, our friends and our family members. This connection builds trust.
Traditionally, fire departments nationwide are among the least diverse of public safety entities. This was also true here in Broward County, which is why we are working to change it. BSO has established a partnership with the Progressive Firefighters Association to enhance minority recruitment outreach efforts. We are working with Nova Southeastern University to expand scholarship opportunities for both swimming and vocational fire rescue training. We have also established a partnership with Boyd Anderson High School to create a magnet program for recruiting and educating young people about opportunities for a fire rescue career. These efforts have slowly but steadily helped to raise the number of minority firefighters in our ranks.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Lieutenant Keith Martin is one of our leaders in this recruitment effort. At community centers, schools and local organizations throughout the county, he talks about the rewards of a career in fire rescue. This process helps to garner interest and find candidates in a wider range of communities. Over time, these outreach efforts by BSO will lead to a more diverse fire rescue workforce.
Progress is being made, but we are only just beginning.
BSO's diverse workforce is building bridges across our multicultural community in order to strengthen all of us. This approach enables us to build a smarter, safer and more empowered Broward County.
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