Fort Lauderdale, FL – As Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies get ready to announce the results of a no-confidence vote aimed to ouster embattled Sheriff Scott Israel, new information pertaining to the alleged sheriff’s misappropriation of taxpayer dollars has been released by the police union.
According to a press release by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, Sheriff Israel has allowed a private company to utilize nearly 6,000 gallons of department-owned gasoline over the past year alone.
Sheriff Israel permitted employees from Napa Auto Parts, a company the department contracted with to deliver patrol vehicle parts, to use the department’s gasoline pumps to fill Napa’s vehicles, the union said.
“We're not licensed to sell, barter or trade gasoline and our pumps are not regulated ... so we don't know the true amount of gallons of gas that are going out,” Deputy Bell explained. “It could be a lot more than the almost 6,000 gallons. They could fill up their boat they could fill up their car, their RV, there's no way to know."
Deputies first notified Sheriff Israel that Napa Auto Parts was “improperly obtaining” fuel from the government-vehicle only pumps in 2016, according to the union’s press release.
Records requests revealed that the company used at least 5,796 gallons of gasoline from the department’s pump in a single year.
When Deputy Bell voiced his concerns to the sheriff, he was assured that the practice would stop, WPLG reported.
"We knew that was wrong and it was supposedly corrected," Deputy Bell told WPLG. "However, on April 10 of this year, we found NAPA Auto Parts back at our fuel pumps and that problem was never corrected, except the gas cards were reissued under a different account number."
The deputy who observed the Napa employee using the department’s pump in April also took photographs to document the incident.
“A subsequent records request revealed new gas cards were issued to NAPA Auto by the Sheriff’s Office under the budget ‘Department of Administration,’” even after Deputy Bell’s earlier conversation with the sheriff, the union said.
Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright argued that Deputy Bell was not telling the truth about Napa’s use of the department’s gasoline, that that it was “more cost effective” for the company to use the sheriff’s office’s fuel.
"If NAPA gets fuel from a commercial station, BSO would be responsible for the retail price, plus a 10 percent administrative fee," Coleman-Wright told WPLG.
Deputy Bell, who was overseeing this week’s no-confidence vote, said that the misuse of the taxpayer-funded fuel was just further evidence to prove that Sheriff Israel should be removed from office for incompetence and neglect of duty, WPLG reported.
In addition to this most recent revelation, Deputy Bell earlier noted that the union decided to hold the vote following many instances of suspected malfeasance, misfeasance, and failure to maintain fiduciary responsibility by the sheriff.
Deputy Bell said that Sheriff Israel has also failed to properly investigate possible criminal conduct by members of his senior command staff.
Sheriff Israel has been under fire since the public learned of his agency's response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating the incident response, which included a school resource officer who stayed outside the classroom building while a gunman murdered 17 students and faculty, and wounded 16 more.
Seventy-four Florida lawmakers called for Sheriff Israel’s resignation following the Parkland massacre.
The no-confidence vote was scheduled to conclude on Thursday, WPLG reported.