To assist voters in their choice in South Florida’s August 18, 2020, Primary Elections, the Caribbean National Weekly over the past several weeks has closely analyzed responses to our questionnaires and the candidates position on various issues as they relate to the interests of Caribbean- and African-American voters.
This has resulted in the newspaper’s editorial board concluding which candidates are more suitable to be elected in the primary elections currently being held in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, and commencing in Broward County on August 8, and others nominated to advance to the ballot for the November 3 general election.
In the most high-profile race in the primaries, for Broward County Sheriff, the National Weekly takes a look at the most prominent candidates.
The Democratic race for Broward’s County Sheriff is particularly competitive and contentious. There are several capable, experienced law enforcement officers challenging incumbent Sheriff Gregory Tony for the position of Sheriff including the capable Jamaican American Andrew Smalling, former police chief of the cities of Lauderdale Lakes and Lauderhill. Smalling served both communities well and has some admirable traits that he could bring to the position. Willie Jones, who has a commendable law enforcement acumen and is the quintessential father figure, no doubt, is qualified for the post.
The position was held by Scott Israel for six years, but following the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas massacre in 2018, Gov. Ron DeStantis replaced Israel with Tony, which unbelievably became an immediate strike against the new sheriff. Though some might believe Israel should get a second shot at the post, Tony, in his relatively short tenure (18 months) as the county’s top cop, has displayed courageous, no-nonsense leadership and has made the BSO command the most diverse it has been in its 105-year history.
Early in his tenure, Tony took the unpopular position against the department’s disciplinary committee’s recommendation, firing bad cops and disciplining deputies who use excessive force. What was most impressive, is that he made the tough decision long before the nationwide protests demanding accountability from law enforcement. In other words, he was not afraid to challenge the status quo to do the right thing for the community.
Additionally, Tony introduced a racial equity and implicit bias training program and made it mandatory for deputies to help combat racial bias in policing and transformed the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) to now include members of the public. While Tony is receiving push-back from some quarters and has some controversy in his past, he has been building a strong relationship between law enforcement and the community—a necessary ingredient for 21st-century policing. It’s hard to make a case to remove him from this position at this time.
CNW endorses Sheriff Gregory Tony for Broward Sheriff.