FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Voters in Broward will have the opportunity on the November ballot to have their say as to who they want to the county’s Sheriff.

“Now violent crime is down, neighborhoods are safer,” states an announcer in television ad for Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti who is hoping to keep his jog. The Republican top cop has been with the sheriff’s office for nearly 35 years.

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Lamberti is running on his record, touting his crack down on so-called ‘pill mills’, illegal guns, identity theft and prescription drug fraud. He said he’s recently turned his attention to human trafficking and synthetic drugs.

“It’s gone from traditional cocaine, heroin, marijuana, now synthetic drugs,” said Lamberti. “So that’s the new focus, that’s the most recent problem and we are out there finding solutions.”

In a video on YouTube, challenger Scott Israel tells supporters “I want to fight recidivism, want to keep young people out of jail.”

Israel, a Democrat, is the former Police Chief of North Bay Village and a veteran Ft. Lauderdale cop. He’s been in law enforcement for three decades.

Israel said if elected he would go after juvenile crime with a program he calls “Reach’em and Teach’em” which focuses on keeping kids in school and out of jail. He’s also looking to diversify the sheriff’s office.

“We need to look like the community,” said Israel. “We need to be African-American, we need to be white, we need to be Hispanic, we need to be Christian, we need to be Jew, we need to be gay, we need to be straight.”

While Lamberti has received the support of the union, Israel argues there’s trouble in the rank and file at sheriff’s office and fixing that would be a top priority.

“(The) endorsement practice, or process, was just hijacked,” said Israel. “Make no mistake about it, the men and women of the agency, there’s a huge morale problem. They’re very, very disenchanted with the upper command staff. They want a change“

“That is so far from the truth,” Lamberti retorted. “When you’re the challenger you can say whatever you want. Every employee organization in the Broward Sheriff’s Office has endorsed me. How bad can morale be if they’ve all endorsed me?”

Ted Scouten