In simple terms of common sense, this sounds mostly like a dog bites man story. The Sheriff of Broward County is taking some heavy metaphorical fire in the news, on social media and from the community over the failure of his former deputy to enter the school during this month’s tragic mass shooting. Even more to the point, revelations that there were so many red flags about the shooter which resulted in no action which might have prevented the attack have people up in arms. Under conditions such as these, you would expect any agency to begin circling the wagons if the members were of a mind to protect their boss.
But it’s not the sort of thing one discusses in public, right? That’s generally the case. But yesterday, Laura Ingraham revealed an internal memo allegedly leaked by someone associated with the Sheriff’s office indicating that this wasn’t exactly a simple case of esprit de corps. The deputies were being instructed to go out and defend the Sheriff against the media onslaught. Here’s the video report followed by the Fox News Insider coverage. (Fox News)
In an “Ingraham Angle” exclusive, Laura Ingraham aired a purported internal email from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office that directed employees to defend Sheriff Scott Israel.
Ingraham said the email was given to her by a source and that their veracity was “confirmed” by a second source.
It urges all staff members to vigorously support Israel as he “find[s himself] up against a flurry of media allegations.”
“He stood with us, and now we must stand with him,” the email reads.
The source is anonymous, so take that as you will, but would we really be suspicious of such a leak? The deputies working under the Sheriff comprise one of the largest sheriff’s offices not just in Florida, but in the entire country. Right now the attention of the nation is focused on them and not because of their outstanding work. (And just to be clear, I’m sure the vast majority of the men and women are dedicated professionals, even if they have trouble at the top of the chain of command.)
That’s not a comfortable position to be in, so do you go out and put your reputation on the line defending the boss in the face of these sorts of allegations or do you decide to button your lip and possibly slip a copy of that memo you received to Fox News? Again, we can’t say with certainty, but with that many deputies and civilian personnel on staff, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if somebody decided to blow the whistle on this effort to build a defensive wall around Sheriff Israel.
Also, as the scrutiny increases, more details about the Sheriff’s activities in office have emerged. Keep in mind that the position of Sheriff is an elected office, as is the case in most places. Israel has to campaign for election periodically. And allegedly he’s been using some county resources for political purposes.
In 2015, Israel wrapped decals of his face on five taxpayer-financed sheriff’s office cars, Ingraham reported.
She said they were dubbed “Israelmobiles,” and were often driven by members of a “community outreach team” allegedly staffed by his campaign supporters.
Most all sheriffs do a bit of politicking when they’re on the clock during an election year. I’ve attended a few events with our local sheriff where I live and it’s nothing unusual. But when you’re plastering your face on taxpayer-funded departmental vehicles and letting your campaign staff drive them around you’ve probably crossed some sort of line.
Here’s one closing thought regarding that last item: this is a reminder of why the contraction or death of local newspapers and investigative journalists in favor of national news organizations is a bad thing. A well funded local news team can dedicate themselves to something like this. But the national news would never have developed an interest in this sheriff’s campaign vehicle usage were it not for the shooting.