Sheriff's Messages

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January is an excellent time to reflect on the previous year. Looking back also helps as we move forward. We have accomplished so much in the past 12 months. While we continued to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, the Broward Sheriff's Office maintained its level of exceptional public safety services. Today, relationships between first responders and the residents of this community have never been stronger. BSO continues to be one of the most highly accredited public safety organizations in the state of Florida. These achievements are possible because of the men and women of this organization who are committed to listening, collaborating and working diligently to be the best public safety agency the public has come to expect. 

As we enter the new year, our efforts will continue. Our mission in 2022 is to build on our successes throughout every corner of BSO.



Training continues to be a priority for BSO. We will continue to excel in our level of preparedness to respond to any incident or emergency, big or small. Our state-of-the-art training center is entering the next phase of its development. While the 103,000 square-foot facility will usher in a new and exciting era at BSO, the trainings listed below demonstrate some of the ways we continue to improve upon our training. 

We continue to rotate all of our deputies through critical incident and crisis mitigation trainings. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of our organization's personnel have completed the Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement course (RITE). This training goes a long way toward increasing public trust by building upon our first responders' emotional and social intelligence. As a member of the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association, BSO funded the RITE Train-The-Trainer Course to ensure all local enforcement agencies had the same opportunity to train their personnel. We will continue to climb toward our goal of 100 percent. 

To more effectively engage individuals living with mental health issues, we have increased our Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for all deputies. Currently, more than 60 percent of our Department of Law Enforcement deputies are CIT trained, more than double the national average, as well as 40 percent of our Department of Detention deputies.

Lastly, at a time when public safety agencies nationwide struggle to recruit, we continue to fill vacancies across the organization, hiring 337 new employees in 2021. 


BSO continues to lead the way when it comes to accountability. Our Use of Force Review Board is proving to be a vital tool in our efforts to ensure our deputies are held accountable if they do wrong. 

In 2022, accountability will continue to be a cornerstone of this organization. There is no room for error in public safety, but if a mistake is made, it is only fair to ourselves and those we serve to find out why it occurred and work toward a solution. 

In addition, our mission is always to provide Broward County with the best public safety services in a fiscally responsible and transparent manner. There is no better way to see how your tax dollars are being spent to keep you and your family safe than reviewing our annual budget. You can view it here:



Community policing is not just a buzzword at BSO. We have found new ways to make positive, impactful changes in our interactions with the community. Our Park, Walk and Talk program continues to see great success with more than 24,500 positive public interactions in 2021. Our Neighborhood Support Team continues to build community partnerships to help better serve and meet our residents' needs.  

Our willingness to listen and be open has resulted in a productive shift in community interactions – and a big part of that is the incredible work of our Social Justice Task Force. The task force provides a voice to community leaders and stakeholders to engage in honest and sometimes difficult conversations and develop solutions and innovative programs.



BSO currently has the most diverse, experienced command staff in the agency's history. In 2022, through our new internal leadership program, we will be working on succession planning and professional development, sharing the years of knowledge and experience with those in our agency who are younger in their careers. We intend to build BSO's next generation of leaders. 

I am proud of the work we have done and look forward to the great work ahead of us. I hope you have a safe, blessed new year.  

Service Equals Reward


Sheriff Gregory Tony


The holiday season is upon us. This time of year should bring you and your loved ones joy and cheer. Unfortunately, with all the distractions, shopping and traveling, criminals look for opportune moments to take advantage of you. At the Broward Sheriff's Office, we want to ensure you are safe from harm this holiday season. Here are some important safety tips to help protect you from becoming a victim: 


  • When shopping, be aware of your surroundings and park in a well-lit area.
  • Never carry large amounts of cash with you.
  • Conduct ATM transactions in safe locations during the daytime.
  • Avoid leaving valuables in your vehicle.
  • Avoid leaving shopping bags, even if they are empty, in your vehicle.
  • Incorporate the 9PM Routine into your schedule as a nightly reminder to check your vehicle for any valuables while ensuring the doors to your vehicle are safely locked.
  • Remember BSO's district offices can serve as safe havens for online buyers and sellers to meet. Contact your local BSO district office for assistance. A list of district offices can be found on  


  • Only shop online with trusted companies.
  • Pay for online purchases with a credit card instead of a debit card.
  • Do not click on unknown links that come through via email or text message.


  • Lock your doors.
  • Use timers to operate lights at night.
  • Consider installing a home security system.
  • While you're away, ask someone to retrieve your packages if you are expecting a home delivery and have someone you trust check on your home.

If you are going out of town, consider signing up for BSO's free Vacation Home Watch Program. Deputies, a community service aide or volunteers will check on your residence for signs of a break-in or suspicious activity. To participate, call or stop by your local BSO district office.

Let's all do our part to ensure we have a safe and merry holiday season. Happy holidays from our BSO family to yours!


Service Equals Reward

Sheriff Gregory Tony


​Deputy Aaron Moore had not yet completed the police academy when he deployed to Iraq in 2003. As an enlisted member of the United States Army National Guard, Deputy Moore prepared for war, but he encountered something different. He spent much of his time on foot patrol in Ramadi, a city in Central Iraq, interacting with Iraqi citizens and ensuring their safety. He saw that many were in need, and he did what he could to give them aid, even if that just meant listening. He ultimately spent 18 months in the Middle East.

When Deputy Moore returned to the United States, he finished the academy and became a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy. He realized his experience in Iraq helped him achieve greater empathy and enabled him to recognize the residents in his own community who needed help. He did his best to uplift and aid homeless veterans in his zone and found ways to provide shoes, book bags and other essentials to kids who needed them. When the opportunity arose to join the BSO Homeless Outreach Team, he immediately accepted. He is now an essential part of our Neighborhood Support Team. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped our agency distribute more than 300,000 boxes of groceries and 2,500 hot meals to those significantly impacted. 

Deputy Moore is just one example of the sacrifice, patriotism and bravery of our military veterans and the value they offer to our community long after their tours of duty end. Hundreds of BSO employees are veterans of our armed forces, and many still serve.

BSO works tirelessly to support the veterans in our communities. Two recent examples are in mid-September, we learned a U.S. Navy veteran, who had recently found housing after living on the streets and in shelters, needed furniture for his apartment. Our BSO Homeless Outreach Team used their community connections to find an organization willing to help provide gently used living room and dining room furniture, as well as other household items. In addition, a team of BSO deputies acted as movers to transport the items from the donor to the veteran, bringing comfort and stability to a veteran in need. 

We assisted a former Marine earlier this year who served two tours in Iraq and experienced some of the most dramatic and challenging fighting of the war. As a result, he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries, leaving him permanently disabled. BSO, along with community partners, worked on a home remodel for the veteran and his wife. 

Central to the BSO ethos is the concept of service. It is what drives each of us to be better public servants and first responders. No group embodies this concept more than our military veterans. This Veterans Day, and every day, we honor the brave men and women who served to protect our freedoms and way of life. We also celebrate the efforts of those who wear the uniform and continue to serve. 

Service Equals Reward

Sheriff Gregory Tony


​Treats, ghouls and spine-chilling fun are just a few reasons why Halloween is one of the most anticipated times of year for kids. Unfortunately, Halloween can also be the most dangerous time of year for children. Nearly 4,000 Halloween-related injuries occur every year, including falling accidents, poisoning, burns and motor accidents. Although the festivities can be fun, we want to remind you of these important safety tips to help prevent real horrors from occurring.

Costume Safety:

  • Your child’s costume should allow them to walk easily. If the costume involves a mask, ensure they take it off when crossing the street so the mask does not obstruct their vision.
  • Have something reflective, such as a glow stick or reflective tape, attached to their costume.
  • Use a flashlight if you’re out during evening hours.

When Children Are Trick-Or-Treating:

  • Accompany your children or make sure a trusted adult goes with them.
  • Instruct older kids to go in one group.
  • Trick-or-treat in your neighborhood.
  • Always look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Utilize the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • Be alert to parked cars. Double-check the vehicle is not about to be in motion.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people.
  • Wash hands and inspect all treats before allowing your children to consume them. Throw away any open treats.

If Giving Out Treats:

  • Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters.
  • Give out treats outdoors, if possible.
  • Set up a station with individual bagged treats for kids to take.

Motor Safety:

  • Enter and exit driveways carefully.
  • Turn on your headlights immediately when you get into the car.
  • Avoid any distractions while driving.
  • Slow down, especially in residential areas.
  • Discourage new or inexperienced drivers from driving during Halloween.
  • Watch for children crossing the street, on medians, at intersections and on curbs.

Follow these cautionary steps to avoid a setback, and enjoy the fun of Halloween. If you are looking for a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, attend an outdoor Halloween event in a controlled environment with your kids. As a reminder, don’t hesitate to report any suspicious activity. If you see something, say something.

Have a safe, enjoyable and happy Halloween!

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


How can we better prepare? It is the question every public safety professional asks and the motivation behind everything we do. Better preparation allows for the best possible response to any incident. Often the incidents or disasters we prepare for are unplanned, happening with little to no warning. However, by training for the unexpected, we remain ready to respond.

While preparation is the foundation of public safety agencies, I can’t stress enough how important it is for the public to be prepared. As we observe National Preparedness Month, I recommend creating an actionable plan and setting it in motion. The four weeks of September provide an excellent opportunity to focus on the various aspects of preparedness to help keep you and your loved ones safe. 

Week One – Make A Hurricane Plan

In South Florida, it is never the wrong time to prepare for a hurricane. Gather drinking water, batteries, sanitation products and anything you and your family might need to weather a storm. Be sure there are enough supplies to last at least five days. If staying at home is not an option, know in advance where you will stay during a hurricane. For information about emergency evacuation, transportation and shelter locations, visit

Week Two – Create A Home Emergency Plan

When an emergency happens at home, ensure all family members know what to do and where to go. Create a communication plan so everyone can keep in contact. Create an evacuation plan and designate a meeting area. Take into consideration the ages and unique needs of each family member and pet. Ensure the items that may help you in an emergency, such as a fire extinguisher or smoke alarm, are working.

Week Three – Secure Your Sensitive Documents And Valuables

With a comprehensive plan in place, you can now focus on protecting sensitive documents and valuables. First, collect the documents you would need to help identify family members in the event of an emergency. Keep these and other important, sensitive documents, such as insurance papers, at home in a fireproof and waterproof box or safe.

Week Four – Teach Your Loved Ones About Preparedness
Finally, review your plans with family members. Practice evacuation drills. Take courses together to learn survival skills. BSO offers free bleeding control and CPR courses. Sign up for one at

If each of us takes the time to prepare and stay prepared, it makes our whole community safer.

On a final note, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It was a day that changed everyone’s lives. I often still think of the brave first responders who started that morning like any other and rushed into the Twin Towers and Pentagon to do what they are expected to do on any given day. By continuing to honor them and all the innocent lives lost, we are keeping alive a stark reminder of the sacrifices our first responders make to protect others.

Let us not allow 9/11 to become just another date on the calendar. #NeverForget

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


Students will soon be back in school learning face to face, which may bring apprehension, excitement or a combination of both. I never take education lightly, and I am grateful that, despite the struggles I have faced to get to where I am today, education kept me on that road to success. Education shapes children's lives, which is why it is vital to continue to ensure our children are safe and feel safe in their learning environment. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind as your children head back to in-person learning.

Bullying is an issue that needs to be addressed. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, one out of every five students reports being bullied. Your children have or will come in contact with bullying, either by experiencing it or witnessing it. Before it happens, it is important to advise your children neither to ignore it nor encourage it. Whether or not your child is a victim or a witness, they must understand the importance of reporting it.

In the age of technology, cyberbullying is a new way to bully someone. Fifteen percent of students were bullied online or through text message. It is essential to remind your children to think before they post, comment or share. Advise them never to share inappropriate photos, videos or messages about themselves or other people. Keep your children safe by advising them to keep their accounts private and never give out personal information. Always keep close tabs on what your children are doing on their electronic devices and accounts.

An unsafe environment in or out of school can affect an individual in many ways. Be aware of warning signs:

  • a downward shift in grades
  • difficulty sleeping
  • self-destructive behavior
  • change in eating habits
  • low self-esteem
  • unexplainable injuries

These could be signs that someone is being bullied. If you notice any changes, it is crucial to step in and help. Report every incident of bullying or suspicious behavior.

Ensure your children are aware of these resources and feel safe talking to you or a teacher:

  • The SAFERWATCH app allows individuals to report suspicious activity and/or threats.
  • Call the crisis hotline for teens at 211 or 954-567-TEEN (8336) to report an incident.
  • In emergency situations, do not hesitate to call 911.

The safety of your children, both physical and mental, is paramount to their future success. Make communicating with your children a priority. Create a safe place at home to talk to them about bullying either at school or online.

Service Equals Reward

Sheriff Gregory Tony


​Water sports, outdoor events and cookouts are just a few reasons why summer in South Florida is my favorite time of year. Whether enjoying some fun in the sun, on land or in the water, follow these safety reminders so you and your loved ones can beat the heat safely.

Heat-related illnesses are of great concern, especially as temperatures rise. Remember to hydrate. Common symptoms of heat exhaustion may include excessive sweating, pale and moist skin, muscle cramps, dizziness, rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting. If you experience any symptoms of heat-related illnesses, seek shade or go indoors and hydrate with water. If symptoms are severe or worsen, seek medical attention quickly or call 911.

Heat-related tragedies are avoidable! As outdoor temperatures rise, the temperatures inside your vehicle can be more than 50 degrees hotter. Remember:

  • NEVER leave your child or small pet alone in a vehicle.
  • LOOK before you lock the door of a parked car.
  • CALL 911 if you see someone locked in a car.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages one to five. When you are in or around water, follow these important safety reminders to keep your family safe:

  • Young children should always be supervised by a responsible adult.
  • Adults should avoid all distractions and actively monitor kids in the water.
  • Keep small children within arm’s reach.
  • Install "child-proof" fencing, locks, alarms or sensors to keep children from entering pool areas.
  • Teach your kids how to swim or float on their backs for air.
  • Be sure rescue equipment and a telephone are nearby in the event of an emergency.
  • Learn CPR.

I want to share with you some valuable resources. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Public Education Unit offers free virtual CPR classes. Sign up online at Take advantage of a free swim coupon from SWIM Central to help offset the cost of swim lessons for children ages six months to five years. Coupons are available online at for all Broward County residents.

Traveling this summer? Keep vacation photos and plans private until you return. Posting on social media or letting others know you will be away may give potential burglars an opening to break into your home. Also, take advantage of BSO's Vacation Watch Program to help keep an eye on your home while you are away. This FREE program offers residents the opportunity to have their home checked on by a deputy, community service aide or volunteer. To participate, please call your local BSO district office. Visit for more information.

This summer is an opportunity for us to enjoy some much-needed relaxation and fun. Follow these safety tips to help keep your summer safe and memorable.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


In public safety, there is no room for error. As the leader of an organization responsible for ensuring the safety of everyone who lives in and visits Broward County, it is my responsibility to ensure we hold ourselves to the highest standards of accountability. That means we not only correct areas needing improvement, but we also examine ourselves to determine if what we are doing is working and, if not, make it right. Accountability is a promise I made to you on my first day as sheriff.

BSO's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a new bureau within the Department of Professional Standards that will hold our agency accountable in all areas of our operation. The OIG provides oversight of all departments within BSO. This protocol ensures if we find problems, we work toward developing viable solutions. We are designing the OIG with transparency in mind. Our focus is to work more cohesively, fiscally responsible and operationally sound.

The OIG encompasses three divisions:

  • The Division of Internal Affairs and Public Corruption ensures we thoroughly and objectively investigate allegations of misconduct against employees.
  • The Division of Internal Audit identifies ways BSO can operate more efficiently and be fiscally accountable.
  • The Division of Policy and Accountability conducts ongoing independent reviews of internal departments to ensure we exceed public safety standards.

Combining these three divisions under one bureau will ensure continuous review, effective communication and shared problem-solving. To spearhead this new office, I have selected Major Scott Champagne, a 23-year law enforcement veteran. During his career, Major Champagne has led BSO's Division of Internal Affairs and Public Corruption Unit. He has demonstrated experience in separating himself from agency business to review claims of wrongdoing independently.

I will always focus on improvements for public safety. This new department has a clear mission: to help everyone at BSO do our jobs more efficiently and transparently so we can better serve you.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


Mental well-being is just as important as physical well-being. Since first responders are often the first people someone in a mental health crisis interacts with, it is critical that we know what mental illness looks like and what to do when we see it.

Dr. Vincent Van Hasselt is my mentor on mental health awareness for first responders. He is a professor at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) specializing in police psychology and a certified reserve officer with the Plantation Police Department. Dr. Van Hasselt knows firsthand that many mental health issues are silent and difficult to detect. Despite our wealth of knowledge and ability to perform our jobs safely and effectively, first responders benefit greatly from specific training dealing with mental health. As his former student, I have incorporated much of what Dr. Van Hasselt taught me into my work at the Broward Sheriff's Office.

One specific course that Dr. Van Hasselt is a big proponent of is Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. He has been teaching it since its inception in 2002. The training educates deputies to interact appropriately with someone who has a history of mental illness and gives them a better ability to deescalate a situation when needed. CIT-trained deputies can also recognize signs of mental illness better and have an increased sensitivity to what an individual living with mental illness may be going through. I believe this training is essential for all our deputies, and I will continue to push toward a fully-trained department.

CIT training alone, though, is not enough to address the mental health challenges facing today's public safety agencies. We must also confront our own mental health challenges. Many of our first responders, which includes law enforcement, fire rescue, detention and communications personnel, are used to helping others. Yet, they have trouble knowing how to find or ask for help for themselves. In comparison to the general population, first responders are up to three times as likely to develop PTSD or related disorders. These disorders can lead to severe complications for anyone if left untreated. For first responders who interact with the public in high-stress, often traumatic situations daily, an unchecked mental health issue can be disastrous.

I needed to do something about it. When I became sheriff, Dr. Van Hasselt reached out to me. He, too, was concerned about first responders' mental health and asked BSO to partner with NSU on an important program. Together, with the aid of a Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant and the tremendous help of Judy Couwels from our BSO Employee Assistance Program, we started the Peer Support Team, a progressive new resource for my agency's employees.

We want to make it easier for someone who needs help to get it, and first responders are more likely to seek help from a peer. The Peer Support Team is comprised of 30 sworn and civilian BSO employees who are available at any time for fellow BSO employees. Our Peer Support Team members are trained in active listening skills and critical incident stress management. They can refer those in need to community resources, and they have access to licensed psychologists who can handle more clinically complicated cases. This vital program is entirely voluntary and provides support and help to employees who may be experiencing personal issues, distress from critical incidents or are suffering from stress. I am proud of everyone involved in its development.

When we treat everyone with the appropriate methods of care, compassion and understanding, we all benefit.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


Every Sunday morning, when Pompano Beach District Captain Martin Hedelund’s twin boys were young, he would take them on drives around Broward County, showing them various landmarks and sights. Captain Hedelund would do all the talking; Dalton and Martin Jr. sat and listened. They were four years old and nonverbal - a developmental delay caused by autism.

Today, Captain Hedelund’s boys are 14. Both can speak and express themselves in different ways. They remember those trips with dad, sometimes down to the date on which they happened. “It has been cataloged in their minds all these years,” Captain Hedelund says. “While the twins are aware of what is going on, sometimes they just can’t tell us that they know. We have faced challenges as a family, but with the blessings of early diagnosis, curriculum-based learning and having two caring parents, Dalton and Martin Jr. have exceeded expectations.”

As a veteran law enforcement officer, Captain Hedelund became better at his job from his personal experiences with autism. He learned how to read body language better and pick up on important social cues. His wife, Margi, has dedicated her life to spreading awareness about autism. She is a board member of the Autism Society of Florida. She travels across the state, sometimes with her sons, to teach first responders about autism awareness and how to communicate more effectively with individuals on the spectrum.

At the Broward Sheriff’s Office, we understand the importance of autism awareness in public safety. We have instituted proactive programs and initiatives and continue to provide specialized training to assist our first responders in serving this population better.

Our most progressive initiative is the implementation of the BSO Cares program. The program provides first responders with important information about persons with disabilities so we can respond more appropriately to calls for service. Participation in the program is voluntary and available to anyone who resides in or frequently visits Broward County with a special needs diagnosis. To learn more about the program, or to register yourself or a loved one, please visit

We also continue to ensure more first responders receive Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. This unique training enhances the understanding of the signs and symptoms of someone with behavioral health issues. It also helps provide a more prepared and aware approach when interacting with an individual on the spectrum.

BSO is honored to have some incredible community partnerships with organizations such as Surfers for Autism and Autism in Flight with JetBlue. Surfers for Autism is a community event that gives individuals with autism a chance to learn to surf. Autism in Flight provides a full airport experience for children with autism and their families. They go through check-in and ticketing, security, boarding and a taxiway ride on the tarmac. The program aims to make the prospect of a commercial flight less intimidating.

At BSO, we will continue to work hard to further develop these essential programs and partnerships. Our goal is to ensure all persons are served with respect and protected in the safest possible manner.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


I am so proud and honored to work alongside the remarkable women who serve in departments across the Broward Sheriff's Office. In recognition of Women's History Month, I want to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of the extraordinary women of BSO making a difference throughout this community.

There's a good reason Deputy Vickie Kendrick was recognized as the 2019 BSO Department of Detention Employee of the Year. She is a dedicated, hardworking and selfless individual who gives her best to everyone she encounters, both on and off the job. At work, she is a leader in every sense of the word, serving as a mentor to new deputies who join the team. While off duty, Deputy Kendrick uses her time and resources to help families in Broward. From ensuring kids have clothes and supplies each school year to assisting with gifts and meals during the holiday season, her mantra is: "I am blessed, and I want the children in the community to know that someone cares." Deputy Kendrick's commitment to service is a true testament to her personal and professional success.

For nearly 18 years, Fire Rescue Public Education Manager Courtney Palmer has helped develop a public education program that is second to none. Despite COVID-19 restricting in-person instruction, Courtney and her incredible team, who also happen to be women – Life Safety Educators Melanie Brocato, Rebecca Lowe-Johnson and Leah Wilson – have evolved and adapted, developing new, creative learning opportunities in our virtual world. Collectively, they have hosted thousands of people in their virtual firehouse tours, hands-only CPR and bleeding control courses. "We are busier than ever," Courtney says. A champion of good causes, she also chairs BSO's new LGBTQ+ Liaison Committee and donates her time, energy, and even her hair, to charitable causes. "I really should get a T-shirt that reads: Stop me from volunteering," she jokes. "But I just love helping any way I can."

I know few people who have the poise, grace, determination and leadership necessary to tackle the tremendous challenges we've all faced this past year; Captain Renee Peterson is one of them. As captain of the Neighborhood Support Team, she has been a lifeline to our communities. Since March 2020, she and her team have helped put food on the table for thousands of Broward residents through Operation Helping Hands, a partnership with Feeding South Florida. During the social justice protests last summer, Captain Peterson's focus was rooted in quelling unrest, listening to our communities and creating new opportunities for understanding. Today, she leads BSO's groundbreaking Social Justice Task Force. "We all benefit when we work together to build a better understanding of each other," she says. Day or night, Captain Peterson is out in the community listening, collaborating and working together to establish positive change.

In her 26 years with BSO, Jennifer Bourgouin serves as our agency's Emergency Management Program Coordinator. Providing essential administrative and managerial support for the Emergency Management Program, Jennifer faced a new challenge this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Accustomed to short-term, in-person activations in the Sheriff's Emergency Operation Center (SEOC), Jennifer was able to adapt quickly, successfully implementing a remote emergency response. "I am very proud of how we came together as a response team," she says. "Every disaster is different, but I'm confident that through our training and preparedness efforts, we can handle anything." As our battle against COVID-19 persists, Jennifer's supportive efforts continue in the SEOC.

The remarkable women highlighted here are just a few of the many others who serve across BSO. Their dedication to service is unrivalled. I genuinely believe that our organization and our community are better because of their service.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony


Three years have passed since the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The memories of the 17 innocent lives taken from us on that terrible day live on in our hearts and our actions. Never again. Those two words gain more importance as time passes. As the freshman class from that year graduates and moves on to new and exciting endeavors, our work to safeguard our schools continues.

Training and preparedness are vital to that mission. As one of the nation's largest sheriff's offices, we strive to be the best equipped and most prepared organization in the country. Today, I am happy to say that we are exceeding standards and continuously raising the bar.

After a thorough, critical and honest self-evaluation, we have introduced numerous improvements and initiatives to strengthen our training and readiness. The Broward Sheriff's Office is the first agency in Florida to have a nationally-certified active shooter training unit. In collaboration with our federal partners, BSO has certified instructors in Active Shooter and Basic Tactical Medical Response, the FBI ALERRT Program and Incident Command Structure. And for the first time in BSO history, we have broken ground on a state-of-the-art training center.

These changes are significantly contributing to safer schools and safer communities. But it's just the beginning. I am excited to share some details about BSO's new Department of Preparedness and Response, a critical evolution that better addresses today's public safety challenges and enhances operational readiness.

Established in June 2020, the department centralizes our agency's training efforts and the deployment of our special operations units to maximize response capabilities. Previously, training had been fragmented, leading to inconsistency and lack of continuity in training protocols. By putting training under one umbrella, we optimize our capabilities, resulting in superior service to Broward County. The new department also provides for greater accountability. Whereas previous training records would only show someone attended training, each person is now independently evaluated on course performance objectives.

Another aspect of the department is the new Threat Intervention Tactics Analytics Network (TITAN). This intelligence-led policing unit works to mitigate terrorism and acts of violence throughout Broward County. Comprised of a full-time SWAT team — the first in BSO history — the unit provides high visibility and tactical security in critical infrastructure locations, including airports and seaports, throughout the county. Should there be a critical, mass casualty incident, this highly-trained unit will facilitate an immediate tactical deployment.

TITAN personnel also work to mentor others throughout BSO. TITAN responds to any incident that requires four or more deputies. The team reinforces training and helps establish proper procedures and protocols during small-scale incidents so deputies are better prepared and ready to respond appropriately during more critical events.

"Establishing Incident Command is vital during critical incidents," said Colonel Steve Robson, who leads the Department of Preparedness and Response. "The onsite training provides deputies with the opportunity to experience the type of response necessary should we have another incident like Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Everyone knows what to do and can perform as expected."

The department is also ensuring our first responders have what they need to perform their jobs. As other public safety agencies, government entities and healthcare systems scrambled to procure critical personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Preparedness and Response, in partnership with the county, is establishing a strategic stockpile of PPE for all first responders in Broward. This is another first time preparedness initiative created by BSO. As the county's lead public safety agency, we should never rely on state or federal partners to provide the equipment necessary to ensure our community's safety.

The department is aligned to ensure preparedness and accountability to address today's public safety threats. Their structure draws attention as a flagship model for other public safety agencies around the country looking to implement similar changes. I am proud of our efforts and will always work toward implementing best practices to safeguard this community.

Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony