Broward County Sheriff's Department

The largest of all the fully accredited sheriff's departments in the United States, the county Sheriff's Department currently employs more than 5800 employees (including 3100 deputies and more than 600 firefighters) and is responsible for law enforcement and fire responsibilities all throughout Broward County, Florida.

Broward County is one of the largest counties in the US as well, spanning a significant portion of the Southeast of Florida. Some of the major cities that county calls their own include Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding metropolitan area, and it closely borders Miami-Dade County - with county Sheriff Department officials regularly lending a helping hand to the sheriffs in that region, and vice versa.

Commonly referred to as the BSO (mostly by the media, but also by those 5800 employees of the county Sheriff office), this police force generally enjoys a positive relationship with the public that it is responsible for protecting - though the office has not been completely free and clear of controversy (especially as of late).

How the Sheriff Department is constructed

Currently run by Sheriff Scott Israel (elected to office in 2012 by a 53% majority against the incumbent), 5800 or so employees are directly under the responsibility and leadership of Mr. Israel and so far things have progressed pretty smoothly.

They enjoy a budget of more than 700 million or so dollars every single year, the majority of it is spent on the 3100+ certified deputies and 600+ firefighters that act as the "front line of defense" throughout county today.

Understanding that there was a bit of an air of complacency about the office and the office during the tenure of the incumbent Sheriff he replaced, Sheriff Israel has committed to working closely with community leaders, politicians, influential business members, and everyday folks find new ways to decrease crime across county while at the same time support community endeavors that help to improve the lives of millions.

Morale throughout the BSO was also at a low point before he took office for a variety of different reasons having absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with his position in the force, and he's also pushed through a number of initiatives to improve the training that each and every one of his sheriffs receive while at the same time boosting funding to firefighting training programs as well.

17 different major metropolitan areas and townships are covered by the BSO, and though there are local sheriffs offices dotted throughout the county there are also a number of "specialized units" that operate out of Fort Lauderdale and the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area that can respond to specialized situations as necessary.

These units include:

  • The county Sheriff office aviation unit
  • The bicycle patrol and K-9 units
  • The child protective investigations service
  • Crime scene and crime lab investigation units
  • Criminal investigations division
  • The county Sheriff Department Dive Team
  • The SWAT team
  • And motorcycle law enforcement units

Each and every one of these specialized units are under the responsibility and direction of Sheriff Scott Israel, and are major parts of the law enforcement in county.

The county Sheriff Department Aviation Equipment and Special Vehicles

Initially established about 30 or 40 years ago, the BSO now has a full-blown aviation and special vehicles fleet that they are responsible for, including a number of helicopters, watercraft, search and rescue airplanes, and a variety of aerial surveillance and transportation systems that allow them to more efficiently tackle their responsibilities.

Three helicopters are pushed into duty on a regular basis to serve a variety of different roles in the BSO, though they also have a reserve fleet of three more helicopters and a tremendous amount of watercraft that they can put into play depending on the specific situation at hand.

The county Sheriff office Detention Network

Responsible for the 12 largest local jailing networks in the United States (with room for more than 5300+ inmates across a number of different facilities), the overwhelming majority of these facilities are located in downtown Fort Lauderdale though two or three of them are interspersed across the county as well.

The Main Jail is the largest of the facilities (and also one of the most updated), and is also where a considerable amount of the administration of the BSO is taken care of.

On top of things major long-term detention facilities, there are a number of smaller short-term detention facilities located throughout the county on top of a considerable amount of intake and processing facilities in each regional area.

About 63,000 inmates are processed through the county Sheriff office on an annual basis (with the number trending upward somewhat in just the last 15 years or so), but the BSO has found ways to stabilize the cost of processing this many inmates so that they don't have to continue to drain public funds to keep the system running.

Around 180,000 inmates are moved from facility to facility or two other law enforcement organizations and jurisdictions on an annual basis as well, with many of them being handed off to US federal marshals or even put on international transports to be extradited.

BSO also operates a "work program" for inmates in the minimum-security detention facilities, allowing them the opportunity to work out in the public in a variety of different fields. This program has been incredibly successful and has earned multiple national awards, and the county Sheriff office continues to try and find ways to expand this program as its had such a transformative impact on the inmates that earn the opportunity to take advantage of it.

It's estimated that this particular work program is responsible for saving taxpayers more than $1.5 million in labor costs each and every year, and it has certainly helped to create important community ties between East attention facilities and the neighborhoods that they reside in - relationships that are essential for the proper and efficient operation and to make sure that the general public stays safe and unafraid of these facilities eating in their backyard.