"But it’s not the responsibility of a General or the President if you have a deserter.” Sheriff Israel added: “you don’t measure a person’s leadership by a deputy not going in.”
What does this quote say about the leadership philosophy of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel? I'll get to that in a minute.
But before that, It's just sad. The whole situation down in Parkland, FL. Of course you know that on the afternoon of February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen people were killed and fourteen more were taken to hospitals, making it one of the world's deadliest school massacres.
I've sat back and sifted through the bits of news that came out. But then appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel something that caught my ear.
He said that he had provided “amazing leadership” to his department, even though it failed to adequately follow up on red flags about the shooter. He would then provide this amplifying statement...
“You don’t measure a person’s leadership by a deputy not going in.”
This statement hit me like two tons of concrete bricks. Because here's the thing...
You can and should measure a leader's leadership by their people not executing their job.
Because as a Leader you are ultimately responsible for your people's actions, attitudes, and decisions.
I won't pretend to know the legal responsibilities' of an Officer, especially with this particular case. But I can say I know what the Code of Ethics says. Here is the first line of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Code of Ethics:
As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice
As an Officer, it is your job to protect against violence. If you cannot execute on this Code of Ethics, you have not been adequately trained in your job. And if Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is going to take full responsibility for his department, then he takes full responsibility for the lack of training.
Then there's this complete abdication of leadership...
“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about”
Without going into the specifics on the documented 23 incidents prior to the shooting that involved the shooter, this statement is equivalent of turning your back on your people.
Because someone in the Broward County Sheriff's Department knew this young person was a threat to society. To say that you will only take responsibility for what you know means that whatever doesn't touch your desk is not your responsibility.
This is a complete and absolute throw-away of accountability of any kind.
Sheriff -- You are accountable for everything that happens in your department. Not only that, to point your finger at other organizations undermines your position of authority. Leaders of any kind are held to a higher standard because they own the mistakes of everyone under the leadership.
Good thing you will be looking into where the lack of leadership came in...
“We will investigate every action of our deputies, of their supervisors,” the sheriff said, adding that Coral Springs police officers will give witness statements to investigators from his office. “If they did things wrong,” he said of his department’s personnel, “I will take care of business in a disciplinary manner.”
Amazing Leaders know exactly where to point the finger. I suggest you start at the top, Sheriff.