By: Jen Russon
There’s a new sheriff in town, or so is the case since Sheriff Gregory Tony was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to replace Scott Israel.
Last January’s appointment marks the county’s first African-American sheriff, whose background in criminal justice includes a passion for developing active shooter training for civilians.
The 40-year-old Coral Springs police veteran, who makes his home in Boca Raton, was chosen for his expertise, and non-political agenda in the role of BSO sheriff. After citing a desire to do nothing more than serve and protect, he was warmly welcomed by parents whose children were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.
One of Sheriff Tony’s most vocal proponents, Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa Alhadeff was among the 17 killed, has publicly expressed her belief the new sheriff’s active-shooting training and school-safety programs would greatly benefit the community.
“I think Greg Tony will do an outstanding job,” said Alhadeff, adding that Tony’s appointment would restore accountability and enforce the kind of training, clearly lacking when her daughter was killed.
Ever since 14-year-old Alyssa’s death, Alhadeff has warmly welcomed Sheriff Tony and has thought of ways to help him succeed. One such way is to host a meet and greet on behalf of the sheriff this summer. Although Lori is a Broward County school board member, in no way does the school board endorse the sheriff.
Alhadeff will host the upcoming fundraiser at the clubhouse of the Watercrest community on behalf of Broward First, a political committee. The mother of three, whose Make Our Schools Safe nonprofit donated over $19k in Stop the Bleed Kits and training to J.P. Taravella High School, said she is impressed by Sheriff Tony’s experience conducting workshops on how to survive active shooter situations.
Sheriff Tony’s security company, Blue Spear Solutions, has provided hundreds of threat assessments, as well as educated that many school personnel on stop the bleed protocol.
Sheriff Tony and his wife, Holly founded Blue Spear Solutions in 2015 after he served more than a decade with the Coral Springs Police Department. The former Florida State full-back was hired by CSPD in 2005 and worked on SWAT. Promoted to sergeant in 2014, Tony left his employ with Coral Springs to work solely at his company, which, as recently as last August, held active shooting drills in Transylvania, North Carolina.
The meet and greet will introduce the man behind the idea that every second counts during acts of senseless violence. Alhadeff said she hopes people in her community will see the event as an opportunity to ask the new sheriff a range of critical questions.
“I hope people will ask, ‘how are you increasing the training for your deputies? how are you making schools safer, and what is your vision for the BSO?’” suggested Alhadeff.
She added that any contributions to support Sheriff Tony through Broward First, are greatly appreciated.
The meet and greet for Sheriff Tony will be held on July 11, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at 8790 Watercrest Circle West, in Parkland. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP at PlayForAlyssa@gmail.com.
- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.