Sheriff Scott Israel at the CNN Town Hall. Photo courtesy BSO.

A Letter to the Mayor and Commissioners:

First, I wanted to thank all of you for what you have done over the past few weeks.  I understand that you serve in a largely volunteer role with your only reward being the improvement of our city, and I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

Second, I wanted to express my opinion on Parkland’s contract with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.  I am not talking about the events of that day – I cannot imagine the bravery it takes to be a law enforcement officer, and I do not know whether it is more reasonable to rush in to a building as opposed to trying to catch a gunman fleeing to prevent more harm.  What I do know is that the Sheriff’s office has not been forthcoming with the public.

The information coming from the sheriff’s office over the past few weeks has been limited and has shifted a number of times, as pointed out in both the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel.  I handle investigations in my professional career and can tell you it generally does not take this long to get the basic facts straight.  What is more maddening is the sheriff doing TV interviews saying he has not personally reviewed the information and does not have all the facts – weeks after the incident.  It seems to me his time would be better spent reviewing the video, calls, and witness testimony in order to clearly communicate with the public.

Based on these failures, I recommend Parkland begin to obtain pricing information from other police vendors.  I am not recommending a knee-jerk reaction of immediately terminating our BSO contract.  It is quite possible our individual sheriff might be removed within a few weeks, or lose his next election. Going through the arduous process of replacing our police provider based on a temporary individual would be unreasonable.  But doing nothing in the face of these failures would be similarly unreasonable.  The current investigations of BSO will most likely take months, and if we decide to cancel our BSO contract and find a replacement, that process will take additional months as well. This is why I recommend doing a RFP (request for proposal) with Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, or any other reasonable providers of police services in our area.  Coral Springs police already integrate with Coral Springs Fire and Rescue without issue and I believe the citizens of Parkland want our community to prepared with all the information needed, with all the options available, should a change be required.

I’ll leave you with a Chinese proverb – the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is today.

David M. Gobeo

David Gobeo is an employment attorney who has been a resident of the City of Parkland for 10 years,  He and his wife Ashley have 3 children.