Uniting Broward is BSO's key community outreach effort. The innovative program—created, developed and implemented by Sheriff Scott Israel—actively unites Broward's vibrant and diverse community groups across racial, ethnic, cultural and sexual orientation boundaries to make Broward a better and safer place to live, work and raise a family.
Check out all the ways Sheriff Israel and BSO are Uniting Broward:
BSO is much more than just a law enforcement agency -- we're part of the community.
Thanks to Sheriff Israel, BSO is diligently working to bring transparency and build community trust by embracing a community policing model where law enforcement and members of Broward's diverse communities work hand in hand to improve public safety services and make their own neighborhoods safer.
Through community policing, citizens from all walks of life are playing a critical role in keeping our communities safe by providing vital input, innovative ideas and key support. By building bridges and opening up new channels of dialogue between law enforcement and Broward's communities, we are working together to find local solutions to local issues, achieve public safety goals and forge a safer, stronger and more united Broward County.
Body-Worn Camera Initiative:
The Body-Worn Camera Initiative is BSO's most visible commitment to providing transparency and enhancing community trust. Body cameras are a "win-win" for our hard working deputies and for all residents of Broward County. It helps protect good deputies from false accusations, gather evidence to support our arrests, and protects the public from the isolated instances of officer misconduct. Sheriff Israel has set a goal to have every uniformed BSO deputy working the streets wearing cameras by the end of the year.
The spirit of inclusion runs deep throughout the Broward Sheriff's Office. While we hire and promote our hardworking men and women based on their talents and abilities, we also do so aware of the incredibly diverse community we represent. Under Sheriff Israel, BSO has made significant strides in diversifying its workforce and making it more reflective of the community as a whole. Today, diversity is BSO's greatest asset.
Juvenile Civil Citations:
As a father, mentor, and coach, Sheriff Israel has made the children of Broward his number one priority. Through the expanded juvenile civil citation program and our outstanding partnership with the Broward School Board in the Promise Program, BSO has produced remarkable results in cutting the school house to jail house pipeline. These programs help keep kids' records clean, teach them responsibility and give them a second chance for a better life. Thousands of children have benefitted because of them.
Mental Health and Crisis Intervention Team Training:
Individuals struggling with mental health illness are people with problems, not problem people. At the Broward Sheriff's Office, addressing this issue is paramount, and diverting certain non-violent individuals into treatment instead of incarceration is our key objective. We have made great strides in tackling this public safety concern through proactive community policing, including increasing the number of deputies with Crisis Intervention Team training (CIT). CIT provides a non-violent solution focused upon de-escalating and assisting, not arresting.
Since Sheriff Israel assumed leadership in 2013, BSO has quadrupled the number of deputies that have received this important training. We are sending an average of 15 deputies a month to receive this important training – more than any other agency by a long stretch. There are currently more than 700 CIT trained deputies on staff—and it is BSO's goal to equip all our deputies with this important training.
Homelessness is not a crime. And arresting the homeless, in many situations, is not a solution. BSO has made dramatic strides with our homeless outreach initiative, which connects the homeless to the appropriate social services they need. Today, our homeless population is treated with dignity and respect, not with petty arrests. Our effort to be allies instead of adversaries was recognized with a prestigious Civil Rights Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Special Needs Program:
In an innovative pilot program, BSO's Parkland District is launching a program designed to help keep individuals with special needs safer. Parents or caregivers of individuals with special needs can opt in to the program by voluntarily providing biographical information about the individual, which will be entered into a database. The database helps 911 dispatch personnel convey critical information to the responding deputy so they can respond more effectively and efficiently. The information can help dispel any concern should the individual seem aloof, uncooperative or even in crisis—leading to more positive outcomes.