BY BUDDY NEVINS
Scott Israel is soon going to find out – it’s much easier to run for sheriff than to be sheriff.
He can’t depend on all those hypocritical Democrats strutting around his swearing-in ceremony Tuesday. Most of them sat on their hands during his campaign or covertly backed defeated Sheriff Al Lamberti.
He can’t depend on the county commission. The worst thing he could do is let this bunch tell him how to run the department.
No, the Broward Sheriff’s Department works well when professionals and not pols run it.
And Israel is a professional cop.
The job is not going to be easy. It is biggest than anything Israel has done in his life.
BSO has 5,500 employees and a $680 million annual budget. It has one of the biggest jail systems in the state. It has the largest road patrol in Broward County, policing everything from West Park to Parkland.
Israel can say goodbye to quiet evenings at home.
His time will be taken up 24/7 by everything from jailbreaks to crime waves to county commissioners pressing him to cut the budget.
Add to that the management pressures of running such a big business – hiring decisions, developing rules, disciplining out of line staff, negotiating with unions, etc.
There is no tougher, more high-pressure elected job in Broward.
Israel will have help.
He has surrounded himself with a new collection of veteran law enforcement types. He has bought on board Ron Gunzburger, the whip-smart lawyer son of County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger, who should keep all the “I’s” dotted and the “T’s” crossed.
In the end, there is only one sheriff. For the next four years, that sheriff is Scott Israel.
Only the sheriff can stand before cameras on those tear-stained nights when a deputy has been shot.
Only the sheriff can reassure the frightened when a hurricane is raging.
The sheriff is our symbol of right in a world where much is wrong.
There are nine county commissioners. Can you even name them?
There are dozens of judges. Can you name any?
But Scott Israel stands alone.
And his big, big, big job starts today.
I believe he is up to it. Let’s hope I’m right.