Foolish Sheriff Scott Israel Ducks Responsibility For Prisoner Escape






If one believes Sheriff Scott Israel, the person most responsible for last week’s escape of Dayonte Risiles from a Broward Courtroom is County Mayor Marty Kiar.

Next in line are the rest of the Broward County Commissioners.


Sheriff speaks With Channel 6

Sheriff Scott Israel speaks to Channel 6



Israel made it clear that this happened because the Commissioners had ignored his budget requests for additional staff in the Courthouse.

As if more unarmed civilians–which is what the bailiffs are—would have made a difference.

Did the Commissioners refuse to fund a training course on how to correctly use handcuffs?!

Has the Sheriff has been misled to believe that he is obligated to spend his dollars based on the budget he submitted to the Commission?

Let’s look at each of those.

  • BAILIFFS–Currently the only legal requirement for being a bailiff is that you are alive…which is an improvement on the 1980’s. Then it didn’t matter if you were alive…if your mailing address was Century Village. There was one 85-year-old bailiff who walked his prisoner into the stairwell only to notice that, when exiting the stairwell, the prisoner was nowhere to be found. OOPS! How about giving the bailiffs TASERs and the appropriate training?


  • SECURING PRISONERS–From what I have read, Resiles was only secured by the basic handcuffing. It does not take the 30+ years I have practiced criminal law to notice that not all prisoners are secured the same way. Maximum Security prisoners wear steel waistbands with their hands cuffed to chains connected to the waistbands. Along with this are ankle chains. Call me crazy, but Resiles, a career criminal facing the death penalty, sounds like the definition of a Maximum Security prisoner!


  • THE MONEY. The law in Florida says that Constitutional Officers–think Sherriff, States Attorney, Public Defender, etc. — must submit a proposed budget to the local County Commission. After that they can pretty much spend it any way they want! And if they feel they are getting shortchanged by the Commission they can appeal to the Governor and the Cabinet…which Israel did not do.


I remember being at a Commission meeting where the late former Sheriff Nick Navarro’s deputies were haranguing Commissioners about not having raises. To a person, they were shocked to learn that Navarro, not the Commission, sets their salaries.

The Sheriff has a lot of money and he decides how to spend it.  He hopes for roughly $450 million-plus or minus- from the County Commission this year.  That amount is almost doubled by the money he will receive from cities where his agency does police and fire protection, fines and other sources of income.

Going back to at least the late former Sheriff Ed Stack in the 1970’s, our Sheriffs have been empire builders. Along with enforcing the law in the tiny bits of unincorporated areas left, they now have Fire/Rescue contracts with cities, jails, probation, investigations for state Department of Children and Families, Pre-Trial Release, Drug Programs, etc., etc.

And the best part is that he does not have to send out the bill. It’s the Commission whose name goes on the annual tax bill to pay for the Sheriff’s domain.

To quote Mel Brooks: “It’s good to be the King”.

Years ago, following a bruising budget battle with Sheriff Navarro, I advised a number of Commissioners to get out of the law enforcement business by asking the legislature setup a “law enforcement taxing district” run by the Sheriff. That would let him impose all the taxes he wanted…but with his name on the bill.

A hundred years ago when Sheriffs were the patronage kings, it made political sense for Commissioners to control the budget. That way commissioners could get jobs for their friends and supporters. Today with a professionalized police force, there is very little patronage gravy left on that train.

So why in 2016 does the Commission need to pay for jails and deputies that only to get blamed for everything that goes wrong with public safety?

Scott Israel seems to be very good at fixing the blame rather than fixing the problem. With his own taxing district, when the next Dayonte Resiles comes along, he’ll only have to look in the mirror.



20 Responses to “Foolish Sheriff Scott Israel Ducks Responsibility For Prisoner Escape”

  1. Ron Gunzburger says:

    Sam: In this editorial, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    You wrote: “As if more unarmed civilians–which is what the bailiffs are—would have made a difference.”

    Sheriff Israel agrees.

    He wants to phase out bailiffs and replace them with a combination of sworn law enforcement and detention deputies. The price for a sworn deputy is nearly twice that of a bailiff. The County has balked for years now at the number of sworn personnel needed to adopt this Palm Beach model of courthouse staffing.

    On Friday, there were a total of 15 sworn officers working at the entire judicial complex. That was “fully staffed” — that that is the entirety of sworn personnel the County was willing to pay for.

    The sheriff says we need at least one DLE deputy and one civilian bailiff for now (with the bailiffs to be replaced by detention deputies over time, so as to ease the phase in time for the County’s price tag) in every critical courtroom. To date, we cannot get agreement from the County even on this compromise proposal.


    Ron Gunzburger is the general counsel for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

  2. Zowie says:

    I’ll let people who spend more time than me at the county courthou definite impression is that you have to be elderly and overweight to get hired as a bailiff. I can’t imagine many of the bailiffs I’ve seen chasing down and overpowering a young and fit fugitive. How would more money fix that problem, Sheriff?

  3. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Sadly every word n punctuation in Counsellor Fields’ article is Gospel.
    Sheriffs in urban areas like most of Broward County are just patronage fountains with little reason to be in too many totally un- or partially related jobs that cities could handle better.
    The institution of Sheriff should have been rationalized a decade or more ago.

  4. Mark T. says:

    Buddy. It’s true that the Commission gives the sheriff his budget. But let me ask you this: if I give you 100.00 and tell you to buy a new Armani suit, can you buy one? Same concept here. They don’t give him enough money to fund what he needs to carry out his duties. In case you don’t know it, law enforcement is expensive. To keep this community safe costs money. If we don’t spend the necessary money, this community will not be safe.

    As for appealing to the governor for his budget. Really Buddy? A Republican?


    This piece was written by Sam Fields, not me.

  5. Real Deal says:

    Broward is among the few large urban counties in America that do not have court officers, sworn, armed and trained to secure our courthouse. BSO and the Chief Judge have for three years straight asked for funding to achieve that objective. It has been denied. Nobody has asked for more unarmed civilian bailiffs. The cost of a court officer is more than what we have now and to date the county has refused to provide the required funding. You have this story wrong.

  6. rightwing says:

    plenty of blame to spread around.and NEVER underestimate the inmates. on a daily basis, they see the large number of officers working overtime inside the jails.they know who’s on point, and who’s there just to collect a check every two weeks.every inmate with heavy charges dreams of doing what resiles accomplished. and with a brand “new” courthouse looming, every inmate will be looking for weaknesses in securityif nothing else, it might serve as a wake up call to some to be more vigilant, more attentive to details. as my old boss George seedman famously “do it now and thoroughly”.yes this is a rare, unprecedented occurrence that cannot be allowed to happen again.

  7. Ownership matters says:

    The fact that he passed the buck and couldn’t say, well, yes we have issues. We need more money. But the buck stops here.

    I can’t respect anyone in this era that won’t accept responsibility. I’m sick of it.

    I won’t be voting for Sheriff because there are no credible candidates this year.

  8. Sam The Sham says:

    The new courthouse will require 3 or 4 times the number of sworn deputies the current courthouse has. If he does not get money for staffing it, Scotty will not certify it safe to open.

  9. Taj Mahal says:

    I know the county is delaying info about the new courthouse until after elections. It is a nightmare because of it’s high rise design. Staffing for security will be much higher as separate staff will be needed for each floor and design flaws that will separate different users and jury needs will require even more staffing. And now the demo and building of the garage is being delayed because to the fight with the builder (same as airport). Hush hush until the sales tax vote or that election will go down in flame. They should have built the lowrise building that was discussed but dismissed.

  10. just saying says:

    both Ch 4 and Ch 10 local news reported that BSO had about $2.8 million or so dollars appropriated in last year or so for courthouse deputies. supposedly israel stated it was not enough and he did not spend ANY of the $2.8 Million because he did not want to ‘appear to agree’ with the limited funding he got.
    Pathetic excuse from an out of touch sheriff.
    No way will I vote for him. Time for new competent leadership and NO politics.

  11. Why lie? says:

    Why does Bob Norman say things he knows are not true? Bob reported that the county offered BSO over $2 million for additional security but that’s not true.

    I have no dog in this fight but happen to know that amount was a set aside for all kinds of things including guards for the domestic violence floor at the courthouse. It comes nowhere near the cost to replace civilian bailiff’s with sworn and armed officers to properly protect the courthouse.

    Stop the lies. This is a serious issue, just tell people the truth.

    I was reluctant before when I heard people say that Norman makes stuff up on his reports. I never believed it until now. I now see how he took a piece of information and twisted it to appear to be something else. In plainer words Bob Norman lied. I resent that.


    I can’t judge the accuracy of this comment since I seldom watch local TV news, which appears to be the repository of endless crime reports pitched to an elderly demographic.

  12. disgruntled says:

    the rumors I hear are that the problems with the new court house go way beyond a dditional staffing. the truth is more deputies should not be needed because felony trials remain in existing courts, and the new one will be for civil and minor crimes.

  13. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Mr Nevins comment to @11 is sadly true. I gave up tv news several years ago.
    But the ‘pass the hot potato’ game between the County Commissioners and others like the Sheriff while useless non profits get funded makes the situation worse than a disgrace.

  14. Stormwatch says:

    Nobody is talking about the real reason why there’s so few BSO Deputies at the courthouse. They don’t wanna do it, and Israel obliges. Plus he wants those deputies on the street. Fact is, crime rate in courthouses is pretty low, so he got away with it till he got caught with his pants down.

    Am I the only one old enough to remember when Navarro, the commission and the chief judge were fighting over the budget so Navarro had everyone standing in line for hours waiting to get inside the courthouse and he had to appear in front of Judge Franza who told him “Be a good little Nicky.”

    Too bad if deputies think the courthouse is boring and the union backs them. Time to move back to the modern age and get real BSO deputies inside the courthouse(s).

  15. Taj Mahal says:

    Did you know that every day, criminals are brought over to the civil side for civil matters? Yes, the sue, get sued, get evicted and foreclosed, don’t pay child support, domestic violence, family, slip and fall, and on and on. And now they are being issued had cuff keys.

  16. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @11 – Here’s the report:

    But it was county officials who responded with the most devastating response to the sheriff’s claims of lack of funding.

    Officials pointed out that the county offered Israel and BSO $2.6 million last year for the sole purpose of courthouse security, but the sheriff failed to accept the funds. The offer, which was put in writing in the form of a memorandum of understanding, would have doubled the number of armed deputies at the courthouse from 29 to 58.


    There is surely something missing from this TV report. No government official turns down money without some reason, however flawed that reason might be.

  17. lawless broward says:

    @9. Taj Mahal
    Thank You. You are correct.

    Buddy how about a ‘Like’ button for good comments.

    Thankfully no LEO were injured or killed during the brazen courthouse escape of this moron.
    Check the cell phone records Israel of the twins and the get-away car folks to confirm the ‘cough’ from the courtroom.
    All these accessory thugs need their heads handed to them.

  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The idea the BSO Deputies set policy is insulting as well as just plain WRONG. Whatever shortcomings Sheriff may have IT’S NOT CREDIBLE ANY SHERIFF ANYWHERE ANY TIME EVER LET DEPUTIES CONTROL THEIR BOSS.

  19. Stormwatch says:

    The deputies and union are controlling everything. Take home cars for just about everyone, even if ya work at the airport and live in Loxahatchee. 4 hours overtime for a 20 minute deposition, cops in the HOV lanes during rush hour, deputies bitching about not wanting to be cooped up in the courthouse(s), union going to bad for dirty cops.
    Now the sheriff says the whole incident has made him more popular. Ain’t that a hoot? If he had an opponent that was formidable this would be the end for him.

  20. jimmy ray hart says:

    Ron Gunzberger makes me ill. Another connected political hack