MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Thursday, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony responded to a letter from the International Union of Police Associations mailed to BSO deputies calling for a vote of no confidence against him.
Sheriff Tony’s response comes days after Tony suspended Union President Jeff Bell, who accused Tony of failing to protect deputies from the coronavirus in an open letter published in the Sun Sentinel newspaper.
Here is what Sheriff Tony had to say in his letter:
“Many of you received a document from IUPA earlier this week calling for a vote of no confidence in my leadership as Sheriff.
When I arrived at BSO, my top priority was and still is, to have the best trained, best equipped, and most respected law enforcement agency in Florida and the country.
Since arriving in January of 2019, we have increased training for all deputies, provided rifles, and new vests and granted the highest pay raise in 25 years.
For the first time in many administrations, the command staff is made up of veteran BSO leaders who have served this agency for a combined total of more than 500 years. And, because we are promoting from within, I have overseen 400 promotions of BSO deputies, fire rescue personnel and civilians since arriving. This promotion count does not include cadets. Speaking of cadets, we are on track to have 95% of sworn vacancies filled by the end of summer.
We are now among the top agencies with respect to active shooter response training in the country. We have instituted Incident Command and the Office of Emergency Management. The Real Time Crime Center has been built from a handful of personnel to a state of the art operation. We have broken ground on a much needed training center to provide the top training opportunities to each of our first responders.
I share this, as every member of this agency should be proud of BSO’s accomplishments.
The vote of no confidence that you are making a decision upon is also about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Nothing is more important to me and the command staff than the safety of the men and women who work for BSO as we continue to provide vital public safety services during this pandemic. I know that every deputy has concerns about PPE, and some are wondering whether BSO will be able to continue to provide adequate PPE for the duration of the pandemic. The short answer is yes.
We began purchasing additional PPE to enhance current inventory and in preparation of greater need. Fire Rescue played a critical role marshaling our assets at the beginning of the pandemic. We took advantage of the resourcefulness of our Fire Rescue Division and they produced the hand sanitizer that was distributed agency wide.
You will recall that in late February, Fire Rescue made themselves available to meet with you and provide PPE at any call that dispatch determined could involve a COVID-19 exposure. This was to assure that BSO maintained an adequate supply of PPE to continue delivering on our core mission, public safety, as we awaited shipments. Today, Fire Rescue still meets with any deputy who requests additional PPE in the areas that both service.
Since that time, we have been delivering PPE weekly to the districts as well as the Department of Detention, Fire Rescue, and our civilians. We have encumbered and spent more than $1.3 million to date to secure the PPE deemed necessary for the long haul. And we will spend what it takes to keep you safe. Safety teams are visiting every district regularly to ensure that supplies are making it to each of you and to address any questions or concerns you may have.
This week deputies are receiving a PPE kit consisting of gloves, protective eyewear (glasses), shoe coverings, and bio-chem suits to be used on calls that have significant risk of COVID-19 exposure. Again, Fire Rescue has played a critical role in securing and producing these new PPE kits.
On a more personal note, the allegations made against me in the call for a vote of no confidence were simply not true. Let me share with you a few.
FALSE- Greg Tony lied on his original job application to the Coral Springs Police Department, stating on that application that he had never been arrested and had not received moving citations in the recent past.
– When I applied to Coral Springs Police Department I completed my FDLE application and included all appropriate disclosures, (see 11/14/2005 FDLE Background report).
FALSE- Coral Springs Police Sergeant Greg Tony displayed questionable judgment when he recklessly fired his gun
– I received the Meritorious Police Duty Commendation for the incident, acknowledging a prudent and heroic act where a hazard, risk of injury, or death to the nominee or other existed. (see 11/30/2015 Meritorious Police Duty Commendation Case#15-1662).
FALSE- Greg Tony completely fabricated his having held the rank of “commander” at Coral Springs. A Coral Springs response to a Public Records request revealed that untruthfulness.
– I was selected to serve as the Field Force Commander in 2016.
FALSE- Greg Tony appears to have fabricated his status as an Adjunct Criminal Justice Professor at Strayer and Phoenix universities, as a request for records to those institutions shows he IS NOT an Adjunct Criminal Justice.
– I served as an Adjunct Criminal Justice Professor at both Strayer College and Phoenix University (see W-2 statements from both).
FALSE- Greg Tony completely fabricated claims to have been the creator of policies at the Coral Springs Police Department that lead to 14 additional lives being saved at MSD. A response from Coral Springs to a Public Records request advised that Greg Tony had no involvement with any policies that were implemented during the MSD tragedy.
– I developed training and policy in regards to active shooter training while at CSPD (see 11/30/2015 Administrative Service Commendation for Active Shooter Research).
FALSE- Greg Tony had only 10 years and 10 months law enforcement experience when he was appointed Sheriff; not the 15 years he stated he had on the Jim Defede show. (And 2 full years were in a probationary status; one year as a brand new officer, and one year as a brand new sergeant).
– I have worked with law enforcement for over 15 years.
FALSE- Sheriff Greg Tony has been summarily firing law enforcement Deputies without due process and in violation of Florida Law.
– All disciplinary cases for deputies are handled in accordance with Florida law, BSO policies and procedures, and the collective bargaining agreement.
FALSE- Sheriff Greg Tony is intent on firing employees who have been “EXONERATED” of administrative charges: which is subject of a pending Unfair Labor Practice being decided by the Public Employees Relations Commission.
– Pursuant to BSO policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the Professional Standards Committee makes recommendations on discipline, but the Sheriff is the final decision maker.
FALSE- Sheriff Greg Tony has forced Deputies to choose between asserting their Constitutional rights or keeping their job during criminal cases.
– The disciplinary process ensures that deputies are provided all of the due process required by law. No deputy has been forced to choose between asserting a constitutional right and keeping their jobs while facing criminal charges.
FALSE- Sheriff Greg Tony disregards our Collective Bargaining Agreement to suit his political objectives.
– I have honored the collective bargaining agreement with IUPA. Since I took office, IUPA has filed one unfair labor practice charge which challenged a change in procedure made by the prior administration. That charge is still pending. Since I took office, a collective bargaining agreement was ratified by the union which, among other things, provided deputies with the largest raise in 25 years, which is in stark contrast to the union’s declared impasse during negotiations with the prior administration.
The remainder of the 16 allegations are opinions and subjective at best.
Below is a list of pay and benefits improvements made for DLE deputies since I accepted command:
• Provided a 3 ½ percent COLA for fiscal years 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.
• Provided an additional 2% salary step for deputies at 20 years of employment beginning April 2019 and an additional 2% beginning April 2020.
• Raised clothing allowances from $375 to $400 and added 2 new units eligible for the supplement (Real Time Crime Center and threat Management Unit).
• Granted pay for lodging and meals for all deputies who reside outside of tri-county area for court appearances that exceed 12 hours including travel time.
• Extended benefits for FTD’s to include receipt of FTD supplement and one other supplement pay for participation in other specialty units; also calls for preference in selection of district upon completion of FTD assignment.
• Added special pay step in addition to current supplement for Deputies assigned to rotary wing aircraft.
• Added supplement for Tactical Flight Officers and agreed to further negotiate for supplements for School Resource Deputies and Quick Response Force should funding become available (but 5% for QRF continued).
• Added specialty units of Marine Patrol and Traffic Homicide as units eligible for supplemental pay.
• Removed time restrictions on receipt of call-back pay and extended pay to those instances where the call was made and subsequently canceled.
• Made out of class pay of 5% immediate, not requiring 40 hours be worked before being eligible
• Provided for a minimum of 5% increase for promotions.
• Premium increases that resulted from the Affordable Care Act borne by BSO.
• Provided for an additional personal day that can be used incrementally and allowance for the cash.
• Provided for bonus sick days to be increased to two every six months until a sick day is taken.
• Approved years of service and FTD credits for assignment or promotions.
• Approved an increase to the notice period for involuntary transfer from 5 to 10 days when possible.
• Approved an additional level of command review of denials of voluntary transfer requests.
• Allowed deputies who reside out of the tri-county area to leave vehicles in tri-county area closest to their home rather than at work location.
• Approved increased time to receive case files in disciplinary appeals to the AAB.
• Approved increased time for union to impact bargain proposed policy changes.
• Included contractual acknowledgement of union’s right to picket.
• Placed limitations on who may recall an employee’s vacation selection.
• Allowed employees on a 12-hour shift to bid by seniority the 8 hour day.
• Provided increased communications with the union regarding critical incidents.
• Reinstituted a loaner gun program.
• Increased number of bargaining unit members testing uniforms being considered for the unit.
• Increased number of employees eligible for light duty assignments.