Broward Sheriff Candidate Scott Israel: "I Have a Pristine Record"
What's your view of the sheriff himself as a liaison to the public and the media?
If something is truly a public record, there will be no roadblocks. I'm not hiding anything. I will be visible and available. I'm a leader, not a manager.
Your campaign got some flak in the 11th hour in 2008 because of some controversial fliers, including one showing black candidate Wiley Thompson in a bow tie (something this paper called "a brilliant attempt to suggest Uncle Tom sellout to black voters and black Muslim to paranoid white voters").
I have no knowledge of any kind of publications that went out about that.
You also hired a "ruthless" campaign adviser, Judy Stern, who was extremely well-connected locally.
Judy did a fantastic job running the campaign last time. We won the Democratic primary and lost the general election by a very small margin. She's not running my campaign this time.
Why do you think Lamberti pulled ahead by that small margin?
I'm being told by a lot of political pundits that it was Scott Rothstein's money.
During the last campaign, allegations surfaced that you had shoplifted [cologne at the Galleria Mall] while on duty and that the internal affairs investigation records were subsequently lost. Care to address that?
The shoplifting allegations are an absolute lie. Fiction. Aladdin's magic lamp. Never happened. It's preposterous. I never shoplifted anything in my life.
And the internal affairs investigation? [Here, Israel addresses different IA investigations, concerning use of force, not the shoplifting.]
I became a cop in 1979, and in 2004, I retired from Fort Lauderdale. The department estimated that I made approximately 1,500 arrests. Of those, four white men came in and made complaints of excessive force. In all those cases, my partners and I absolutely used force. It was legal, and it was justifiable. The way I explain it, is some people don't want to go to jail. Each complaint was not sustained.
And the shoplifting investigation?
Florida State Statutes direct internal affairs units to purge complaints made against police officers if they are not sustained. They purged my files. [An earlier Sun-Sentinel report on the charges said that "state and city law dictate the records be kept 50 years past the termination of employment. Police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa said... that the current administration has not purged any officers' records."]
More recently, we've given Lamberti some heat for contracting with the producers of the TV show Police Women of Broward County. Would you allow that show to continue?
Absolutely not. It's demoralizing to see that we would be making arrests and what have you with self-promotion in mind. There are allegations as to who was paying [the policewomen] while they were performing their duties. A lot of issues. Police departments exist for two reasons: to reduce crime and enhance the quality of life. Would I cancel the contract? Absolutely.
You don't need to go out and have "bagels with the sheriff." You have to be walking the walk, doing your job.
What are your thoughts on the BSO's weeks-long investigation of the TSA officer who took Rick Case's pen? Was that appropriate?
Would John Doe have been treated the same way [as Case, the victim in that investigation]? One would have to come to the conclusion that he would not. It's never been done before.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Anything you're hearing about me and would like to ask, ask me. I have a pristine record.
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