Embattled Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s second in command, Undersheriff Steve Kinsey, has informed numerous sheriff’s department staff members that he is resigning his post, according to three well-placed BSO sources. The decision by Kinsey comes just as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who took office Tuesday, is widely expected to suspend Israel from office after the much-criticized response to the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Kinsey has apparently yet to officially submit his resignation, but he is expected to be followed out the door by other high-ranking staff members, though those exits have not yet been confirmed.
He’s one of several command staffers Israel hired from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, where the sheriff spent his career as a cop. Kinsey spent 21 years at FLPD, where he served in road patrol, the Special Investigations Division, and Narcotics. His final position there was assistant police chief.
Israel’s decision to stack his command staff with his friends from FLPD has been heavily criticized within the Broward Sheriff’s Office, but Kinsey, who joined the agency in 2013 directly after Israel’s election, largely avoided controversy during his tenure, even during the controversy following the shooting in Parkland.
Israel this week told numerous high-ranking staff members that DeSantis is going to suspend him from his post and that he will fight to return to his elected position. In a press conference Monday, DeSantis said he would make his decision quickly and indicated he was considering replacements for Israel, who has come under fire not only for his agency’s much-reported shortcomings in Parkland, but also for false statements and his refusal to take any responsibility for his agency’s failures.
Speculation surrounding Israel has created a reporting frenzy that culminated Tuesday night with a false report by Fox News that DeSantis had already suspended Israel. An article posted to the right-wing news outlet’s website was taken down shortly after it appeared and replaced with a denial from DeSantis’ office that any such move had been made.
Resignations during past leadership transitions at BSO have been driven by financial concerns. While he still holds office, Israel has the discretion to pay all outstanding sick and vacation pay to Kinsey and other command officers and employees — often considerable sums of money.
Israel’s replacement, however, could choose not to pay out those benefits.