Sheriff's Messages

  
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​When I assumed command of the Broward Sheriff's Office in 2019, I assembled the most qualified and talented team of individuals at every level of the organization. It was one of my best decisions as sheriff. These accomplished men and women have been instrumental in achieving my vision for BSO—Excellence in Service. We have prioritized public safety and established ourselves as a respected organization our residents can trust, and fellow public safety professionals can emulate.

In 2022, we embarked on a countywide survey, a collective effort to gauge residents' priorities regarding BSO's initiatives. The insights from this survey led me to convene a strategic planning committee comprised of a diverse group of professionals from each discipline within the organization. This collaborative group was instrumental in evaluating our organizational standing and exploring growth opportunities. The result yielded a comprehensive plan emphasizing public safety and community well-being.

The BSO Strategic Plan identifies five key objectives for the next four years, providing a clear trajectory for our organization to remain at the forefront of public safety. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Innovation and Sustainability – We will streamline resources and enhance interdepartmental collaboration to remain responsive to community needs. Notably, we will work with the county to implement a single public safety answering point (PSAP) to consolidate 911 communications operations and dispatch resources to unify operations and more effectively and efficiently deliver services.
     
  • Effectiveness and Resilience – Our organization aims to continuously improve operations, enhance our capacity to address public safety concerns and deliver exceptional service to the community. We continually assess and reimagine our programs to create a safer, more inclusive society. We strive to improve internal and external communication by leveraging technology and community partnerships, ensuring we are always one step ahead in our mission to protect and serve you.
     
  • Community Engagement – Establishing meaningful community ties is crucial to our public safety mission. We will continue to optimize resources to foster sustainable connections and ensure easy access to essential public safety information through online educational platforms.
     
  • Leadership and Professional Development – We prioritize the professional development of our employees. We encourage higher education to enhance critical thinking and decision-making skills, enriching our approach to public safety. We will continue to invest in systems and partner with institutions that provide employees with career advancement opportunities.  
     
  • Behavioral and Physical Health – Safeguarding the well-being of our employees and the community is paramount. We are committed to taking all necessary measures to ensure our first responders are physically and mentally fit to respond efficiently and effectively to any situation. In addition, we will work to enhance our organization's early intervention program, enabling us to better reach individuals suffering stress and emotional challenges from the job and provide them with the help they need in a safe and confidential environment. 

    These efforts represent only a fraction of the exciting new initiatives outlined in our 2024-2028 Strategic Plan. I invite you to visit www.sheriff.org/SheriffTony/Pages/Home.aspx to explore all the developments at BSO focused on enhancing community safety and connectivity.
     

    Sheriff Gregory Tony

    Service Equals Reward

 


April2024
  

​In 1929, Sara Freeman was hired as a bookkeeper at the Broward Sheriff's Office with an annual salary of $1,800. Her initial duties involved recording and organizing the agency's financial data. Sara eventually became the jail matron, monitoring female inmates at the Broward jail. These subsequent duties led to Sara becoming BSO's first female deputy. Deputy Freeman retired in 1946, but the legacy she left behind created opportunities for women to hold positions of power in public safety that are echoed throughout BSO today.

The representation of women in command positions has been a process. It has not always been easy, fair or fast. As sheriff, I have prioritized inclusion, fairness and equality as central tenets of our organization. When I assumed command of BSO in 2019, female representation was void at the highest ranks. Today, nearly 40 percent of our organization is comprised of women, each creating their own accomplished history and positively influencing future generations of public safety professionals. Throughout BSO, women now occupy leadership positions at the highest levels of decision and policy making—as undersheriff, chief of staff, colonels, majors, captains, fire rescue chiefs and directors.

In the spirit of our first female deputy, I want to highlight a few exceptional female firsts promoted during my administration.

Undersheriff Nichole Anderson has achieved many firsts, shattering numerous glass ceilings in her path. In 2011, she became the first Black female chief to head a district command; in 2017, she became the first Black female promoted to major; and in 2019, she became the first to attain the rank of colonel. Later that year, Colonel Anderson made history again when she became the first Black and first woman undersheriff in BSO's history. I promoted her because of her tremendous qualifications, work ethic and leadership. I consider her promotion one of my best decisions as sheriff.

When Samantha Whitehorne initially pursued a career in the fire service, she was met with resistance. She was told no one would hire her because she was Black and a woman. Samantha took this as motivation and began her journey, earning every promotion and breaking all barriers. She became the first Black female firefighter at Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue in 2000 before the department merged with BSO. She rose to the rank of lieutenant in 2006. In 2017, she began teaching and training emergency medical workers at Broward College. In 2022, I was proud to promote Samantha to district chief in Deerfield Beach, marking the first time a Black female would hold this position.

I am equally proud of Stephanie Jacobi's recent promotion to captain over our Special Patrol Division, which includes SWAT, the Aviation Unit, Marine Patrol and the K-9 Unit. She is the first woman to serve in this capacity. Captain Jacobi is an 18-year BSO veteran who has served in many critical roles, including as a property and violent crimes detective and hostage negotiator. She credits female mentors throughout her career for showing her what it takes to succeed. She hopes to do the same for other young women.

Dr. Debra White also has a long history with BSO. She began her career as a detention deputy in 1984. Soon after, Dr. White graduated from the police academy in 1990 and became a road patrol deputy and a school resource officer. After a decorated law enforcement career, she retired in 2015, until I encouraged her to return to BSO to share her talents once again. Now, she puts faith first, serving as our organization's first female chaplain services manager.

These are just a few of the many incredible women of BSO who are trailblazers and role models for the leaders of tomorrow. I am honored to work alongside them. Their service and dedication to keeping our communities safe are a true inspiration.

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward


March2024
  

No one event had a more profound impact on the Broward Sheriff's Office than the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School on February 14, 2018. The loss of 17 innocent lives at the Parkland school is the reason I arrived at BSO, with the vow that we would do everything in our power to ensure that what occurred that day would never happen again. Today, we are better trained and more prepared, leveraging technology, utilizing resources and consistently readying our first responders to protect our schools.

In 2019, I created the Threat Management Unit (TMU) and Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) to proactively investigate potential threats to our schools and the community. Since then, the TMU has investigated approximately 4,230 potentially violent incidents, resulting in more than 300 arrests. One of those arrests was a teenager who threatened to carry out a mass shooting at MSD in 2021. With access to nearly 18,000 school cameras across Broward County, the RTCC provides live intelligence during investigations and helps direct first responders in real time during an incident. The RTCC is expanding significantly, increasing its space and staffing and enhancing our investigative capabilities.

As an expert in active shooter training and response, I saw improving the training standards for all our first responders as an immediate priority. Today, we train to respond to any incident, regardless of size or scale. All our first responders, including our school resource officers, participate in annual active assailant training with our Tactical Training Unit. The 13-person unit, which includes our most skilled and tactically trained deputies, provides the highest level of proficiency training to sworn personnel throughout the organization.

Our Incident Command System training ensures all personnel, regardless of rank or role, understand their responsibilities and the overall structure of critical incident response and emergency management principles, which are crucial to effectively handling critical incidents. BSO command staff participate in key operational scenarios such as establishing command posts, implementing staging areas, managing crisis communications, coordinating resources, and integrating multi-agency responses under a unified command. These extensive trainings prepare us to respond to and effectively manage emergencies. BSO is committed to continuously incorporating real-life scenarios into our training regimen to maintain operational readiness.

To enhance operational efficiency and ensure every incident is handled as expeditiously as possible, we unified our Training Division and Special Operations Bureau to form our Department of Preparedness and Response. A highlight of this new department is the Threat Intervention Tactics Analytics Network (T.I.T.A.N.). This intelligence-led policing unit works to stop terrorist acts or threats of violence. A feature of T.I.T.A.N is our organization's first full-time SWAT team, which provides high visibility and security to various critical infrastructure in the county, such as our airport and seaport. The team is also ready for immediate deployment in the event of a mass casualty incident.

The pinnacle of our commitment to protect our schools and our entire community will be our state-of-the-art Research, Development, and Training Center (RDTC), which will open later this year. The RDTC will house all our training efforts under one roof, allowing for greater preparedness, multi-departmental and jurisdictional training and streamlined resources.

A two-story memorial will grace the walls of the RDTC's main entrance. Etched into it will be the 17 names of the lives lost during the MSD shooting. The building is dedicated to these victims and serves as a continual reminder of our ultimate purpose: We train in their memory. We prepare to prevent further tragedies. We will never forget them and why we made significant changes to our organization to protect our schools and children.

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward

February2024
  

​This year is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Broward Sheriff's Office. As we continue to provide the highest level of public safety services to Broward County, we're thrilled to welcome the new year with some compelling initiatives on the horizon. We are launching a comprehensive strategic plan aimed at effectively addressing and overcoming challenges related to the safety and well-being of our community. Our state-of-the-art training facility will open, allowing for expanded training opportunities and increased educational opportunities for our employees. In addition, we plan to further enhance our innovative crime-fighting units. Our direction is part of our blueprint to remain at the forefront as a progressive and effective public safety organization.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
This year, we will implement our four-year strategic plan, which will help us proactively address the public safety challenges of tomorrow. A committee of BSO employees across the organization formulated the plan. Working together, we looked at areas of our organization to strengthen, processes to consolidate for a more efficient workflow and opportunities to support the mission of safeguarding our community. I look forward to sharing more about this plan in the coming months.

RAISING TRAINING TO NEW LEVELS
BSO's Research, Development and Training Center (RDTC) will be the cornerstone of our organization's commitment to preparedness. The facility is the first dedicated onsite training center in our organization's 109-year history. It will elevate our preparedness, enhance our public safety services and consolidate all BSO's training under one roof. The center will include classrooms, simulation labs, tactical firing ranges with vehicle access, simulated scenario ranges and a cutting-edge wellness center. 

The BSO Training Division is also in ongoing talks with several educational institutions to offer additional employee development programs at the RDTC. These courses will focus on personal, supervisory and executive leadership. The skills learned will help employees as they progress through their careers at BSO.

HIGHER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Our commitment to education will continue. It's a challenge I take personally. In 2024, I will complete my Ph.D. in criminal justice and organizational leadership. Yet, this thirst for learning is not mine alone. Educational advancement is now part of the spirit of our organization. Through partnerships with Nova Southeastern University and Lynn University, we offer employees degree programs that teach social responsibility and civic engagement, ultimately imparting a better understanding of public service. These programs not only help instill our staff with the skills and knowledge to best serve our communities, but they also aid our deputies in achieving a level of formal education not traditionally sought after in a law enforcement career. We are proud to see these programs inspiring and empowering employees to achieve their educational goals. 

FORENSIC TECHNOLOGY RECEIVES A MAJOR UPGRADE
Our Digital Forensic Unit analyzes and investigates potential evidence from electronic devices. This unit is responsible for processing nearly 1,800 pieces of evidence a year and helps solve significant crimes, including homicide, sexual abuse, child abuse and many others. In 2024, new state funding will provide an opportunity to upgrade vital equipment to better review evidentiary items. An innovative review platform will also be acquired to share valuable information more easily with other agencies.

PROACTIVE POLICING GETS A BOOST
Our Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) utilizes technology to proactively stop crime and aid our first responders as incidents occur. Due to their continued success, we have secured state funds for a significant expansion, allowing additional space and personnel for partner agencies to join our investigative intelligence operations. Accompanying this expansion will be further upgrades in technology. With access to more than 18,000 cameras, the team has provided live intelligence during more than 5,600 incidents.

As an organization, we are heading into 2024 with a firm plan for success. The future looks brighter than ever.  

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward


January2024
  

The Broward Sheriff's Office has recently garnered national and international recognition for exceptional performance across all aspects of our public safety operations. These awards and accolades indeed boost our morale but, more importantly, exemplify our organization's commitment to excellence in service. 

HEROISM: This past year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) presented BSO SWAT operators with one of its highest honors: The FBI Shield of Bravery. These highly trained tactical operators pulled two FBI agents from the line of fire. Though the agents tragically sustained fatal injuries, the SWAT operators performed remarkably in the face of grave danger to save their lives. The award they received is rarely issued and is bestowed only for acts of exceptional heroism, well above the call of duty. The award is an unwavering testament to our training and preparedness. Seeing these dedicated first responders receive this supreme honor was one of my proudest moments as sheriff.

INTELLIGENCE: Proactive, intelligence-led policing safeguards our communities by discovering and stopping illicit activities before they escalate. The BSO Gang Investigations Task Force has been at the forefront of these strategic efforts, significantly reducing crime throughout Broward County. Their efforts earned them distinguished recognition as the Gang Unit of the Year by the Florida Gang Investigators Association.

PUBLIC SAFETY: The BSO Aviation Unit garnered recognition from the International Association of Chiefs of Police with the Leadership in Police Aviation Award and two awards for their use of tactical airborne forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras to aid in the success of their missions. This team of highly trained, experienced professionals was also honored within our organization as BSOs Unit of the Year for the Department of Preparedness and Response.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Every accolade we receive demonstrates the significant progress our organization is making. BSO Sergeant Eric Girado was recognized as Investigator of the Year by the Florida Internal Affairs Investigator Association. Sgt. Girado's recognition is a strong endorsement of our commitment to responsible, transparent policing of ourselves. Since day one, my administration has focused on maintaining the highest standards of accountability, ensuring any allegations of misconduct are investigated fairly, thoroughly and objectively. 

COMMUNITY: BSO's Neighborhood Support Team received well-deserved recognition as the Outstanding Crime Prevention Unit of the Year by the Florida Crime Prevention Association. The community initiatives launched by this exceptional team have helped at-risk youth, supported life skills and job training, and assisted our most vulnerable residents. The Neighborhood Support Team continues to build trust and respect with all our communities while keeping them informed on important public safety matters.

ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT: Recently, Dr. James Roach received the State Medical Director of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Health. The Raymond H. Alexander - EMS Medical Director Award is a prestigious honor and testament to Dr. Roach's outstanding contributions to BSO's emergency medical services. Additionally, the BSO Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Advanced Life Support (ALS) Team is standing out in the industry, placing first in two major ALS competitions: the Fire Rescue East ALS Competition and ClinCon. The contests place the team in multiple scenarios to test their medical and protocol knowledge, skills, critical thinking and decision-making abilities. These victories highlight the team's commitment to being the very best in EMS response. 

PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS: Our efforts to communicate with and inform our community of critical public safety matters extend to a variety of digital mediums. This year, our Community Affairs Division and Public Information Office won three Telly Awards, a premier award honoring excellence in video and television productions. The videos awarded highlight important public safety information and, in one instance, assisted the BSO Cold Case Unit in highlighting a decades-old unsolved homicide case. 

The achievements highlighted here share a common purpose — all are a product of our promise and commitment to be the most progressive, innovative, service-oriented public safety organization in Broward County. We are proud of each of these distinguished honors and will continue to push forward with the same vigor to reach even higher levels of performance and accomplishment. 

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward


November2023
  

An innovative BSO crisis response pilot program has been changing lives, ensuring the safety and well-being of our community and setting a new standard for effective mental health support.

Launched last year in Deerfield Beach, the BSO Co-responder Program pairs a licensed mental health clinician with a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained deputy. When a call for service involving a mental health crisis comes in, the team promptly responds to the scene together. The team further conducts follow-up wellness checks with individuals and their families who have recently experienced a mental health crisis, providing guidance, support and assistance with referrals for behavioral health services.

This combination of proficiencies enables us to provide enhanced de-escalation assistance and connect individuals with community-based social services and mental health treatment. When appropriate, we can divert individuals from the criminal justice system, ensuring they receive the care they need. We further provide deputies on patrol with timely and easily accessible clinical expertise as they encounter individuals with varied symptoms of behavioral health deterioration. This approach is built on the belief that helping individuals experiencing mental health crises benefits them and our entire community.

The results we have achieved over the past year have been remarkable. The positive outcomes include:

  • Reduced arrests: By addressing the root causes of mental health crises, we have seen fewer arrests related to these situations.
  • Diversion from the criminal justice system: Our efforts are diverting individuals from unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system, allowing them to receive the help they need.
  • Significant increase in mental health referrals: We have substantially increased referrals to mental health services, ensuring individuals receive ongoing support.
  • Reduced repeat encounters: By providing comprehensive support, we reduce the likelihood of repeat crises.
  • Putting de-escalation into practice: In 100% of the co-responder's direct contacts with individuals in crisis, de-escalation techniques have been utilized to facilitate cooperation and preserve the dignity of all involved. 
  • Zero use of force: We are proud to report that this approach has resulted in zero instances requiring the use of force.

 
Daniel Gelpi is a licensed therapist assigned to the Co-responder Program. When he joined the sheriff's office in August 2022, he brought 25 years of mental health care experience. Working alongside Deputy Marcus Hall, a deputy in our Homeless Outreach Team, he immediately saw the benefits of this unique pairing. This method allows Daniel to provide quicker response and intervention for calls in progress compared to previous positions. Furthermore, he can engage in constructive discussions, allowing him to better connect with individuals who may otherwise be hesitant to seek behavioral health support.

"The value of this program is immeasurable," says Daniel. "Using the Co-Responder Model, law enforcement and mental health professionals are better serving the community."

Since its launch in Deerfield Beach, the program moved to Dania Beach for several months and is now being utilized in Cooper City. The idea is to move it around the county to gather data and information from a cross-section of the community to streamline and improve operations. As we continue to witness the positive impact of this program, we are eager to expand its reach and extend its benefits to even more members of our community. 

Together, we are establishing a standard for empathetic crisis response that places the needs of our community members at the forefront.

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward


October2023
  

Investing in our community is paramount to public safety.

Children's Harbor is a non-profit organization that serves as a home for kids without a family and keeps foster siblings together. While caring for these at-risk youth, this organization also guides them toward independence, building academic success, life skills and confidence through mentorship programs. The foundational values of Children's Harbor are aligned with our own at the Broward Sheriff's Office, and we are honored to have a small hand in their success.

I am proud to say through our Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) Program, BSO supports Children's Harbor and many community organizations like it. We choose these local non-profits on the merit of their mission to improve the lives of Broward County residents. The money we award comes from the seizure and forfeiture of contraband used in the commission of a crime. State law allows us to use these funds to reinvest into charitable 501(c)3 organizations that benefit our community. 

Under my administration, the LETF selection process has been elevated to become a fair and impartial process. All qualified organizations have the same opportunity to compete for funding, and funds are distributed equitably. This year, we had the great privilege of investing nearly $900,000 back into the community by funding 88 different programs for selected non-profit organizations. 

As an agency, we understand community stability is a core variable of public safety. We must identify gaps and service needs within our community and connect our resources with organizations that can serve as a force multiplier to have a greater impact throughout Broward County. Whether it's connecting with youth, providing crime prevention programming, mentorship opportunities, mental health assistance, veteran services, or academic development, we are committed to utilizing these LETF funds in a way that supports a thriving and prosperous community. 

We will continue to evaluate and select new organizations whose mission is focused on the betterment of Broward County. To determine if your charitable organization is eligible to receive LETF funds or to learn more about the process, please visit sheriff.org or email LETF@sheriff.org.

Congratulations to this year's LETF recipients! 

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward


September2023
  

​Do you know who your children are talking to online? A new cyber-criminal enterprise is on the rise, inflicting emotional anguish and financial damage on victims. 

Sextortion is a cybercrime where predators use social media networks, apps or gaming platforms to establish contact and build relationships with their victims. Posing as a teen, the predator pretends to spark romantic interest the victim, who is often a teen themselves, and manipulates them into sharing explicit photographs or videos. The new "friend" then threatens to expose them and share these photos with their family and friends unless they send money. 

Unlike traditional sextortion, where predators blackmail victims into providing additional sexual images, financial sextortion involves blackmailing the victim into sending them money. Despite the amount the victim pays, it is never enough, and the criminal's scheme continues. 

Sextortion can affect anyone; however, predators mainly target young boys between the ages of 14-17. According to the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Commander, Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) Sergeant Thomas McInerney, "Teenage boys are particularly vulnerable because, unlike their female counterparts, they are less likely to report this type of blackmail and are often too embarrassed to tell a trusted adult."

The statistics are startling. New research by Snap Inc., owner of the social media app Snapchat, shows that approximately 65% of teen social media users said they or their friends were either "catfished," tricked into a friendship or relationship by someone with a fake identity, or their private information, including explicit photos, was stolen from their online accounts. One-third of those targeted admitted to sending explicit images.

The emotional damage inflicted by this crime can be devastating. Victims who fall prey to these criminals can experience severe emotional distress and humiliation. In 2022 alone, more than a dozen sextortion victims around the country died by suicide, and multiple victims took their lives within hours of being sextorted. Aside from the emotional harm, sextortion can also cause significant financial strain. The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reported the economic losses related to sextortion totaled more than $13.6 million in 2021. Due to the underreporting of this crime, the number of suicides and total financial losses are estimated to be greater.

BSO is committed to doing all we can to find and stop these criminals and bring them to justice. The South Florida ICAC Task Force, hosted by BSO, uses every means available to track down these predators and help victims recover their lives. Unfortunately, because much of the criminal activity originates outside the United States, the quest for justice is an arduous process.

In an effort to stop victimization, the best method is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The BSO ICAC Task Force is teaming up with Broward County Public Schools to launch an educational campaign to connect with students and provide vital information to help them in making informed online decisions.

Parents and caregivers should also do their part by monitoring what their children are doing online, checking who they are communicating with and having conversations regarding online safety. A list of helpful tips and important resources is available at www.sheriff.org/Sextortion.

By staying informed, vigilant and proactive, we can combat sextortion and help create a safer digital landscape for today's youth.

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward

August2023
  
As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability, the Broward Sheriff's Office has published the 2021-22 Annual Report detailing how we protect and serve the community. In its pages, you will find the facts, from the crime-fighting statistics specific to your city to the bold agency-wide initiatives benefitting residents and visitors in Broward County.
 
As you will see, our organization continues to strive for excellence in all we do. I want to highlight some of the many accomplishments in this comprehensive report.
 
Our Aviation Unit is flying high. The team flew nearly 3,000 missions, assisting in 1,000 arrests, recovering 236 vehicles and locating 17 missing or endangered persons. Their outstanding efforts resulted in well-deserved recognition, as the unit was selected as BSO's 2021 Unit of the Year. They also won the 2022 Leadership in Police Aviation Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
 
On the ground, our school resource officers (SROs) continued refining the skills required to protect our children. As our schools' front-line defense, these deputies completed rigorous active killer preparedness training alongside command personnel to effectively manage a critical incident. BSO will continue integrating real-life scenarios into our training regimen to ensure we are always ready and prepared for any situation.
 
Our dedication to fighting crime through education, mentorship and community service continued to pay off. Our Neighborhood Support Team, comprised of sworn and civilian staff, led cultural diversity discussions, provided vital assistance to our seniors and veterans and taught residents about their rights when interacting with our first responders, amongst other essential public safety initiatives. In December 2021, the Florida Crime Prevention Association recognized the team as the Outstanding Crime Prevention Unit of the Year.

 
Other notable endeavors include our Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport district participating in a FEMA full-scale exercise to further enhance our readiness; our Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Training Unit being honored as our 2021 Unit of the Year for planning, coordinating and conducting training for our more than 850 fire rescue employees; and the BSO Department of Detention hiring additional mental health specialists to support the mental well-being of our inmate population.

These are just a few examples, but there is so much more to learn from this report. Take the time to dive into all the details to better understand how your tax dollars are being spent to protect and serve Broward County. Every action we take is made with you, the resident, in mind. BSO is as much your sheriff's office as ours, and this report was created so you can see exactly how we work for you. Visit
https://heyzine.com/flip-book/a90f7eb3e1.html to read the full report and learn more about the many innovative programs at BSO.
 
Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward


July2023
  

​Juneteenth and Pride are celebrations borne of a tragic past but fueled by hope, each carrying the promise of progress. Although the histories of our black and LGBTQ+ communities are different, they are connected by the struggle for fundamental human rights. As we progress from our past to a more equitable society, the role of the Broward Sheriff's Office progresses with it, and our goal remains the same – to keep everyone safe. 
 
I continue to be committed to enhancing the culture of service at BSO. When our first responders can identify with our residents through similar backgrounds and experiences, they can better understand our community's wants, needs and problems and identify potential solutions.
 
A diverse and inclusive public safety agency is essential to ensuring that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect. Since taking office, I have prioritized elevating leadership and recruiting employees that better reflect our county. Today, the men and women of BSO make up an organization that is more diverse than ever in our 108-year history. Each of us brings a different perspective and uniqueness to our communities. Most importantly, the men and women of BSO are hired and promoted on the strength of their abilities and because of their desire and commitment to serve.
 
We have also implemented programs and initiatives that increase and support equity, inclusion and understanding, such as our LGBTQ+ Liaison Committee, Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement (RITE) courses and the BSO Social Justice Task Force. As we incorporate these programs into what we do, they continue to develop who we are and what we stand for. The mission of each is to strengthen the relationship between our residents and our organization by creating mutual trust and confidence through community involvement and departmental education.
 
We celebrate these achievements of social progress, but we do so mindful that there is still work to be done. As Broward County grows, we will continue to recruit the best and the brightest individuals committed to serving our residents. We will create and sustain a history we all have pride in.
 
Click here to learn more about our innovative programs supporting equality at BSO. 
 
Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward

June2023
  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO), we understand mental health concerns are public safety concerns. As a public safety organization, we seek to explore new and effective ways to address mental health issues that touch our community.

Responding to a call for service involving a person in crisis can be challenging. As first responders, we recognize the need to diversify our response capabilities to include a more collaborative approach that best addresses the immediate needs of the situation. Recently, BSO launched a law enforcement Co-Responder Program, which pairs a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained deputy with a licensed mental health clinician to respond to crisis calls for service. The joint response provides immediate advantages. The deputy and clinician can accurately determine the needs of the individual and identify opportunities to connect them to necessary community resources. The Co-Responder Program is currently in the pilot phase. Based on its success, we have plans to expand the program to other BSO districts.

Another program focusing on mental health is our Behavioral Health Licensed Therapist (BHLT) program operating under BSO's Threat Management Unit (TMU). BSO's TMU focuses on investigating persons who threaten to commit acts of mass violence and stop that from occurring. The BHLT team is composed of veteran therapists who work alongside TMU detectives to investigate these threats. When a threat is made, one of our licensed therapists is paired with a CIT-trained detective to provide professional on-scene threat and needs assessments. The cooperative investigation affords the ability to assess individuals for mental illness and substance abuse issues and link them with appropriate community providers who can offer treatment. Currently, our BHLT program has assisted with nearly 1,400 cases. Of the individuals they have interacted with, 44 percent have accepted services.

While our new programs and initiatives are making a difference, the cornerstone of our mental health work starts with our CIT program. CIT provides specialized training to help identify and more effectively engage an individual living with a mental health issue. The key is de-escalation. In situations where moods can shift, and actions can escalate quickly, the first few moments of contact are critical to calming individuals.

Our CIT-trained employees are placed where they can have the most significant impact. For example, all our school resource deputies are CIT-trained. In addition, our 9-1-1 communications operators undergo CIT training to identify which calls might require a specialized response. This training is critical on the front lines. About 55 percent of BSO's law enforcement deputies are CIT certified; my goal is to reach 100.

In public safety, no call is the same. Our diversified approach to handling these crisis calls allows us to help individuals in their greatest time of need and connect them with valuable resources. We will continue to explore opportunities that best serve the people and ensure the safety of Broward County.

Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward

May2023
  

​Education and training are critical components to enhancing our knowledge and performance within the public safety profession. Since I took office in 2019, the Broward Sheriff's Office has made tremendous progress in training, education and preparedness. Today, I am proud to share BSO is a flagship organization for training in the State of Florida and the nation. With a 15% reduction in overall crime, we are seeing how our success is positively impacting public safety for the residents of Broward County.

BSO first responders train to maintain and enhance their ability to respond to any crisis. BSO has introduced over 80 new courses in the past four years with nearly 80,000 completed trainings. Further, we have hosted approximately 50 trainings for more than 1,000 members from local, state and federal agencies. With the completion of our new state-of-the-art training center in late 2023, we will continue to provide the most advanced public safety training in Florida.

Our commitment to training also encompasses academics. As an organization, we encourage our employees to pursue continuing education. We have partnered with universities to expand higher education and professional development opportunities. Since 2019, more than 200 employees have enrolled in higher education institutions, and over 50 employees have been awarded degrees, most at the master's and doctorate levels. We have also increased our participation in executive-level training courses.

As an academic myself, I welcome ongoing learning opportunities – especially when it comes to public safety. Currently, I am enrolled as a doctorate student at Nova Southeastern University, pursuing a Ph.D. in criminal justice and organizational leadership. In 2022, I was selected by the FBI to participate in the prestigious National Executive Institute Leadership Course. This tremendous opportunity is given to only the top law enforcement administrators in the nation, and I was honored to be part of it.

In addition to training and education, we have continued to focus on accreditation. Accreditation is awarded to agencies that meet and exceed professional standards. Today, BSO has become Florida's most accredited public safety organization, demonstrating our commitment to operating in compliance with industry standards and best practices. We currently hold 18 national and state accreditations, and these significant accomplishments are a source of pride within BSO's ranks.

I am proud of our accomplishments and successes over the past four years. We will continue to push toward excellence and never become complacent in our responsibility to provide the best in public safety to this community. To learn more about our accreditations and training programs, please visit sheriff.org.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony

April2023