On the same day that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended their boss from office and named Gregory Tony the first black sheriff in Broward County history, five top members of the command staff announced their resignations, sources confirmed to New Times.
Those who resigned include Undersheriff Steve Kinsey, Col. Jack Dale, Major Kevin Shults, Col. Jim Polan, and Col. Chadwick Wagner. They quit in part in protest to the decision by DeSantis to remove Scott Israel from office today.
Kinsey, Dale, Shults, and Polan were all among the controversial transplants who now-suspended Sheriff Scott Israel imported from the Fort Lauderdale Police, where Israel formerly worked.
Wagner is a former Hollywood police chief, who was also seen as a political hire by Israel.
The five leaving today are expected to be followed by many other Israel loyalists, including three other command staffers who were brought over from the FLPD: Colonel Tom Harrington, Col. Frank Adderley, and Maj. Jonathon Appel.
Also expected to be cleared from the agency are numerous hires from Israel’s campaign and other political spheres. Among those are his campaign strategist who became BSO general counsel, Ron Gunzburger, and the sheriff’s chief of staff, Lisa Castillo, whose husband Angelo, has bounced from job to job at the agency. Bath are campaign supporters who are now being paid $250,000 annually between them.
Israel even hired the husband of his campaign manager, Amy Rose, as a community liaison. Wally Eccleston took a job as a community outreach manager at about $70,000 per year. The former sheriff also hired several cronies connected to his infamous campaign consultant, Robert Mueller investigation target Roger Stone.
BSO union chief Jeff Bell, also a deputy, says the key to cleaning up the dysfunctional agency is sweeping out those political hires. Echoing that is former BSO Sgt. Willie Jones, who told New Times he is running for sheriff in 2020. He said the rampant cronyism under Israel at the agency has destroyed morale.
“They vowed their allegiance to Scott Israel, not to the community,” said Jones last week of the political hires. “We need leaders who are not going to kiss the ring, but who are committed to the community.”