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Fired Broward Sheriff Scott Israel campaigns for old job after Parkland controversy

Sheriff suspended over Parkland response

Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is campaigning for his old job after being removed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his officers' failure to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students died in a mass shooting last year. DeSantis quickly suspended Israel after assuming the governorship this year and appointed former Coral Springs police Sgt. Gregory Tony to replace Israel.

CBS affiliate WPEC-TV reports that Israel filed his paperwork Monday morning to run for re-election as sheriff in the 2020 Democratic primary.

"I want to get back to working with the incredible men and women of the Broward County Sheriff's Office," Israel said. "I want to get back to my communities."

During the governor's campaign, DeSantis originally said he would suspend Israel, but then backed off slightly, saying he would hold officeholders accountable. DeSantis tweeted that the suspension was over Israel's "repeated failures, incompetence and neglect of duty."

In the fallout of the shooting, two other Broward County deputies were fired for neglect of duty. One of those was school resource officer Scot Peterson, who was also arrested on criminal charges for child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. The sheriff's department has also since lost its law enforcement accreditation over its mishandling of the mass shooting as well as a 2017 shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.  

A state commission investigating the shooting at the Parkland, Florida school had concluded Israel's changes to the department's active shooter policy may have contributed to some deputies' inaction during the shooting. DeSantis' executive order said that Israel inserted into the department's active shooter policy that deputies "may" enter a building to confront a shooter in order to preserve life. Israel argues, however, that training was "industry standard."

"The same training as many other sheriffs and police departments," he said. 

The former top cop has since been fighting his suspension before a Florida senate, claiming it was a politically motivated attack. "This was about politics, not Parkland," Israel said. 

The full state senate, however, could vote on Israel's fate in the fall, throwing a wrench into Israel's campaign. 

"If and when the people of Broward County vote for another person who receives more votes than me, then I'll walk away from this job with my head held high," Israel said.

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