At the Broward Sheriff's Office, we've come so far since the first African American, Deputy James Primous, joined the ranks in 1951. We've made great strides in diversifying the agency at every level to reflect Broward's vibrant melting pot.
As a person who has experienced inequality firsthand, I understand the importance of diversity in public safety. In order to serve Broward citizens to the best of our abilities, we must mirror our communities. Failure to do so — a problem public safety agencies have historically faced — often leads to avoidable consequences, including a lack of understanding, communication and, ultimately, distrust.
I believe what makes us different as individuals make us more complete as a whole. And I am committed to making our entire agency more reflective of Broward County. I have increased the hiring of minority deputies and firefighters, two areas where minorities have been underrepresented in the past. Today, more than 60 percent of the agency is comprised of minorities — greater than the percentage of Broward as a whole. More than 40 percent are African American; in addition, nearly 20 percent are Hispanic. BSO also proudly employs many strong, dedicated women — who have made up more than half of our recent promotions — and people from a diverse set of religious beliefs and sexual orientations throughout the agency.
We're accomplishing all this through a variety of means, from greater outreach to communities that have been underrepresented in the past to the creation of new initiatives, mentorship and scholarship programs that reach our youth and promote careers in public safety.
BSO now has the most diverse command staff in the agency's 104-year history. Recently, I had the distinct honor of promoting Colonel Nichole Anderson as the first African American and the first woman to serve as undersheriff in the agency. I have also had the pleasure of naming BSO's first two colonels of Cuban descent, Colonel Oscar Llerena and Colonel James Reyes.
Make no mistake, however. These leaders are not in their positions because of the color of their skin, gender, religion or sexual identity. They were promoted because of their qualifications. Collectively, they have devoted decades of selfless and dignified service to BSO and the citizens of this great county.
When I became sheriff, I promised to do what was best for the agency and bring forth the best personnel to keep our communities safe. We have so many talented people in this agency, and so many are worthy of positions of leadership. What I have done is simply level the playing field for everyone and provide qualified individuals an opportunity to rise to the top.
As always, we are looking for good men and women to join our team. If you think you have what it takes, visit us at jobs.sheriff.org.
Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony