A whole lotta politics at BSO

Published On: Nov 06 2012 10:23:49 AM EST
Updated On: Nov 06 2012 10:25:09 AM EST
bso-polls

The photo above shows a high-ranking BSO chief exhorting people in line at an early voting site to vote for Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti.

This is par for the course, a sign of just how politicized the sheriff's office, which is simple reality when you have a top cop that is elected. 

The sheriff's campaign has a telephone robocall out now where the sheriff claims he's taken the "politics out" of BSO. The truth meter on that one is the old pants on fire.

There's nothing wrong with BSO brass out at the polls, using their off-time to do some politicking. It happens all the time. I've also got a photo of Col. James Wimberly at the African American Research Library voting site campaigning for Lamberti. Engaging in the democratic process.

Here's the problem: Politics and policing don't go together in any kind of good way. It's just the system we have now with an elected sheriff in Broward County (unlike Miami-Dade, where a director is appointed).

You can't blame it on Lamberti, but for him to claim that he's run politics out of his department is like Bill Clinton saying he ran flirting out of the White House. It's just not so. You can find examples of BSO politics all over the county. Seen those billboards that popped up everywhere telling people the agency needs to hire more detention deputies? Sheriff Al Lamberti's name is prominently displayed on them. And some other BSO personnel were photographed recently passing out employment flyers featuring Lamberti at polling places.

What about those "Shred-A-Thon" semi-trailer trucks with giant photos of Lamberti on them that you see around the county. 

So is the sheriff a raging egomaniac? Nope, just a politician. This is about a flawed system and at least a partial solution is to follow Miami-Dade's lead and appoint rather than elect. That's one thing that would really help to get the politics out of the sheriff's office.

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