State lawmaker Bill Hager calls on Rick Scott to remove Broward Sheriff in wake of Parkland failures
Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.


Republican Bill Hager, the chairman of the appropriations committee in the Florida House which will be asked to budget as much as $500 million to bolster the state’s school safety programs, gun laws and mental-health initiatives, is calling on Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Israel is under intense scrutiny after Coral Springs police officers who responded to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School say several Broward sheriff’s deputies waited outside rather than rush in as the killer was gunning down students.

The allegations emerged a day after veteran Broward deputy Scot Peterson for failing to enter the school during the Valentine’s Day shooting.

The Sun-Sentinel reported that according to police sources at least three Broward deputies, including Peterson, waited outside. The Broward Sheriff’s Office said Friday it is investigating the Coral Springs officer’s claims.

“An investigation into the incomprehensible action of these deputies … will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims,” said Hager, in a release accompanying his letter to Gov. Scott. “The Sheriff was or should have been aware of the thread Cruz presented to his community and chose to ignore it.”

The FBI has admitted it failed to investigate similar claims, and Florida child welfare agency looked into concerns about Cruz, but concluded he wasn’t a risk to himself or others. Two additional Broward deputies are also under investigation over whether they mishandled warnings about Cruz in the months leading up to the shooting.

“Sadly, he was not the only one that ignore it. DCF, Broward County Schools, the FBI and the BSO all had pivotal information but failed to act appropriately and failed to communicate appropriately.”

Israel issued a response in a letter to Gov. Scott that the sheriff’s office released to the news media late Saturday.

Israel’s letter responded individually to three points that Hager made. They included how his deputies responded to the shooting and the number of calls his office received from the home where the shooting suspect lived.

“Only one law enforcement officer was ever on the campus — at any time — during the attack,” Israel writes, “Deputy Scot Peterson.” He noted that Peterson had “received the training, but clearly did not follow the protocols.”

The Sheriff als0 pushes back on accusations over the visits Broward County deputies had made to school shooter Nikolas Cruz‘s home.

Israel wrote: ” BSO had a total of 23 calls for service involving Nikolas Cruz or his family … 18 of those involved Nikolas directly (the others involved his brother). Of the 18, nearly all but two involved routine calls from the mother relating to parenting issues (her sons were fighting; her son was banging pool equipment against the house; etc). BSO released the entire list of specifics of each call for service, and none were arrestable offenses.”

“It is patently obvious that Hager has zero comprehension of law enforcement,” Israel added, referencing additional problems with the mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport last year.

“The ‘problems’ Rep. Hager referenced were the areas BSO itself identified in our own internal After‐Action Report as needing improvement,” Israel’s letter continued. “And, in the interests of full public transparency, BSO widely shared copies of the report. As an aside, Hager also failed to note that BSO apprehended the killer in the FLL airport attack within 80 seconds of the first shot being fired.”

In his letter, Israel said he “would urge Rep. Hager to publicly apologize for helping to (spread) this false gossip and misinformation.”

Hager is also proposing that certain dollars currently scheduled for appropriation for the BO be redirected to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement “in order to initiate a pilot program in Broward County that will integrate and analyze data from various law enforcement, course, state agencies, and school districts to better assess risk and keep our citizens safe.”

Here is Hager’s letter to Scott:

Bill Hager letter to Rick Scott calling for Scott Israel resignation by Peter Schorsch on Scribd

And here is Isreal’s rebuttal:

Material from The Associated Press, CNN, and Fox News was used in this report.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Joanne Goodwin

    February 24, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    How about removing Rick Scott for killing all those seniors in the Nursing home ? and for his lack of legislation making it so damn easy for this kid to get the gun


    February 24, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Governor Scott, Please take action ……..surely YOU know something was terribly wrong in Parkland. YOU as Governor have the power to make an effort to establish better police departments in Florida.

  • Michael Gibson

    February 25, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I’ll get flak for this but technically if you want to blame someone blame the SCOTUS, they ruled that law enforcement does not have to protect anyone or put their lives in danger, they only have to enforce the law.

  • John Mozowski

    February 25, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    The Sheriff Scott Israel is showing incompetence by having tunnel vision that only guns, specificity the AR15, are the problem. Would he feel better if a person with metal needs drives a motor vehicle through a crowd of children waiting for their bus? Lets look at and solve the real problem.

Comments are closed.


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