New Broward Sheriff Announces He Will Run In 2020, Shares Vision For Training County Deputies
A little over three weeks since he took the job as Broward County's new Sheriff, Gregory Tony says he has plans to continue his leadership in the office.
"In 2020 I will run," Tony said at a press conference Thursday in Fort Lauderdale. "The next year-and-a-half of implementing policies, procedures, training, building new facilities - all these things are about breaking ground. If I walk away from this place in 2020 then there is no guarantee that the visions and effort I put forth will be sustained by the next administration."
Tony, a former Coral Springs Police Sergeant, was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month to replace Fmr. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. Israel was suspended from office for "neglect of duty" for his handling of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.
Next week will mark one year since the shooting, which left 17 people dead and 17 others injured.
Tony said he is using findings from the statewide public safety commission that's been investigating the shooting to address some of the criticisms of BSO's response that day, which included lack of active shooter training.
"We can't get the training done because there's not enough personnel to educate and keep the standards up," he said. "And if you track anything with the MSD commission, and read over the reports...that was a clear deficiency there."
Tony said he has already been working to increase the number of officers who train others, from five to 25.
Tony is also looking to build a BSO-owned training facility with a simulation room. Currently, BSO uses outside resources for training purposes, like the shooting range in Markham Park and the training facility owned by the Coral Springs Police Department.
The emergency communications systems, like 9-1-1 radio communications, also added to a delay in law enforcement response on Feb. 14, 2018. Tony said he is in talks with county officials to ensure new radio towers are built soon.
Prior to taking over BSO, which includes more than 5,000 employees (2,800 of which are deputies), Tony started a private company that specializes in active shooter training, called Blue Spear Solutions. Since becoming Broward County’s Sheriff, Tony said he has broken off his involvement in decision-making at the company.
"It's impossible, you cannot take on dual roles," Tony said. "I forfeit my rights as president so that this can be my focal point."
The company is now under the control of Tony's wife, though Tony said the private company will "absolutely not" be involved in any future training for BSO deputies.
In his new role Tony said he does not have a timeline for getting his new training vision executed, though he said it will not be "an 11-month ordeal."
"Much of the elements that we can fix, we're already actively trying to get involved and getting these things brought up to current standards," he said.