Special Message from Sheriff Scott Israel
Uniting Broward: Rally for Peace
The nation has been riveted by media coverage of the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri. The city is a working-class community which is two-thirds black, but with a police department that is 94 percent white. After an 18-year-old died in a police shooting, tensions reached a boiling point. Peaceful protests devolved into civil unrest and the National Guard was eventually called in to restore order.
Community trust is important. That is why, upon taking office, I took steps to strengthen the relationship between the BSO and our residents. Open lines of communication, community partnerships and transparency with those we serve – especially when tragedies like this occur – help keep our streets safer and calmer.
Utilizing a proactive approach, our diverse community outreach team connects with residents one on one to provide the specialized attention busy deputies sometimes cannot offer. Our community outreach team is a crucial part of the two-way communications that enhance public safety. Our team is comprised of sworn law enforcement deputies and civilians who bring diverse backgrounds and skills to provide valuable crime prevention information in a variety of languages. Serving as a liaison between the BSO and the community, they acquire valuable feedback and suggestions that strengthen our relationships with the community and enhance public trust in law enforcement.
Every day, members of our team attend various events – from homeowners' association meetings to annual celebrations – to discuss important educational and crime prevention information. They also provide information about helpful, free services and community involvement opportunities available to all Broward residents. Community outreach, most importantly, communicates trust. Effective dialogue enables us to better understand situations and better respond to help the community.
It was also important to lead an agency that better reflects all persons of Broward County, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or cultural differences. BSO today – including our command leadership – is proudly more diverse and innovative than ever before. We encourage an agency culture of vibrant diversity, respect and inclusiveness, to best reflect the communities we serve. BSO personnel are encouraged to rely on these values and the spirit of inclusion whenever they interact with the public.
Today, BSO is an agency committed to promoting an open dialogue about justice and listening to concerns of people, from our financially struggling neighbors to our most affluent ones. The BSO “Uniting Broward” initiative is designed to bring neighbors together to achieve public safety goals. By working together with the community through a team approach, we find local solutions to local problems. “Uniting Broward” is about our county’s diverse groups gaining a better understanding about each other to build better bonds. It is designed to make us a stronger and smarter community.
I do not want BSO to be called upon when a problem in the community has already reached a dangerous breaking point. Rather, I want BSO to proactively assist communities in developing solutions when problems are small.
Broward County is our county. It is our home. I want our Broward to be one in which we teach, encourage, inspire and motivate each other. Together, we can have open dialogue now to build the type of safer and healthier neighborhoods we all want and need.
Sheriff Scott Israel
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