Today, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony announced the appointment of new members to the Professional Standards Committee and the formation of a new Use of Force Review Board, which will be tasked with reviewing use of force for consistency with Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) training and policy and making recommendations as to whether further investigation or training is needed. Among the new members of the committee, Sheriff Tony announced as the new director, retired County Judge Julio Gonzales. Judge Gonzales’ background provides him with the experience and the judgement to guide the Professional Standards Committee as it reviews numerous cases before rendering its recommendations to the sheriff. Judge Gonzalez will be joined by four new appointments from the public and new agency appointments representing the various divisions of BSO.
“One of the most significant challenges I took on as Broward sheriff was the need to rebuild our community’s trust in BSO. Over the past year, we have increased training, adopted a more proactive community policing policy, begun neighborhood support teams and diversified our command staff and our recruitment for new public safety professionals. However, these accomplishments alone will not build public trust in BSO without us examining how we discipline ourselves. When my deputies do the right thing, I will always support them and have their back. But we are holding ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and accountability, which is why I have decided to make these changes in order improve the internal investigations process,” Sheriff Tony said.
The changes Sheriff Tony announced will promote a more timely and accountable review of questionable use of force that guarantees due process for deputies, while having a more clear and accountable procedure for the public. The Use of Force Review Board will allow for a quicker evaluation and referral of those cases deemed in need of further review by Internal Affairs, examine instances of use of force against a minor and any use of force that results in significant bodily injuries.
Sheriff Tony concluded, “There have been too many cases where the findings of our internal disciplinary process simply did not reflect the standards of behavior that the public and good policing demand. As a result, I have rejected the recommendations of the Professional Standards Committee and terminated four deputies for use of excessive force in the past. But rejecting recommendations is not how we fix the underlying issue, which is why I decided to appoint new members to the Professional Standards Committee and create a Use of Force Review Board.”
THIS REPORT BY:
Veda Coleman-Wright/Dir of PIO