A Message from Sheriff Scott Israel
TOUCHING LIVES, MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Shortly after I was elected Sheriff, I was invited to a local Boys and Girls Club to learn about the club and the children it serves. During that visit, I began playing basketball and closely interacting with one particular boy. As that Friday afternoon began to wind down, I noticed the counselors collecting backpacks and then handing them back out to some kids in the gym.
One of those was the youngster with whom I was playing basketball. I soon learned his backpack was loaded with food so he would not go the full weekend without a decent meal. The food was the club’s way to help these kids make it through the hardest of times. I was both moved and motivated by this gesture – and it reignited my mission to bring meaningful community policing to the Broward Sheriff’s Office to help those in need.
Community policing is a cornerstone of my law enforcement belief system. I learned from my late father and mentor, Sonny Israel – a life-long law enforcement officer, that the best way to protect the public is to build mutual trust and respect by treating people as friends and neighbors.
Fighting crime isn’t only about catching bad guys. It starts by working hand in hand with the community as partners to prevent good kids from turning to a life of crime.
Each day, our hard-working deputies interact with our diverse community and listen to their concerns firsthand. In addition, BSO plays an active role in scores of community events for important organizations that help Broward’s varied communities.
These interactions are exciting opportunities for law enforcement and residents to listen, understand and build connections to help find customized local solutions to local problems.
We work diligently to build community bridges that hadn’t existed in the past. Our Community Outreach Team – a program recommended by the United States Department of Justice policing studies – helps us build dynamic relationships with all those we serve. Our programs help connect the homeless and mentally ill to the social services they need. Our “Uniting Broward” initiative is already creating a transformational shift in community policing. And BSO also participates in countless neighborhood events, ranging from food giveaways to youth sports programs.
The results are an amazing success. Today, community members are more at ease and bring matters to our attention – instead of waiting for them to escalate. And community policing, combined with intelligence-led policing, has caused Broward’s crime rates to plummet to the lowest rates in decades.
Furthermore, a recent countywide poll indicated Broward residents personally have good experiences with law enforcement. The most important number: 85% of Broward residents said they have never had an “unpleasant experience” with law enforcement.
To advance our community policing objectives further, BSO recently launched a new internal system to capture and analyze community policing efforts. With this new tool, we can now quantify the frequency of our community policing efforts and measure the positive impacts in the daily encounters that don’t involve any arrests or tickets.
While I am proud of our community policing achievements, we are still constantly working on ways to get even better, and I am confident we will see more success for many years to come.
Sheriff Scott Israel
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