Often times people view me only as the sheriff of Broward County. They seem to forget that I am a father and husband first. My primary responsibility is to protect my family. However, as your sheriff, it is also my responsibility to ensure the very same safety for the citizens of Broward County. I can assure you that the safety of our community is not something I take lightly.
Working in law enforcement for over 30 years, I have seen some horrific things. Most recently, I was extremely disturbed by the senseless killings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado. These despicable tragedies claimed the lives of many innocent people. These incidents are proof that no community is immune from tragedy. Through education, enforcement and safety initiatives, we can try to deter them from happening in our neighborhoods.
In an effort to address the problem of rising gun violence in our nation and in our community, the Broward Sheriff’s Office is developing a multifaceted public safety campaign that will focus on reasonable gun control measures, enhanced school safety precautions and responsible gun ownership. I firmly believe that prevention cannot exist without education. As part of this initiative, we will develop an educational program for parents, students and all gun owners to teach safe firearm practices and awareness.
Another component of getting guns out of our neighborhoods is the Gun Stoppers program. Often, there are family members or friends who know of someone illegally possessing a firearm, but they don’t know what to do about it. I want you to know that you can do something and report it anytime – day or night. The Gun Stoppers program is administered by Broward County Crime Stoppers. The tip line number is 954-493-TIPS (8477).
Our enforcement efforts on weapons violations will be fierce. We will target not only possession of illegal weapons but also the criminals with a history of violent use of weapons. These people give responsible gun owners a bad name.
I fully support legislation to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban. Enforcing a uniform national background check before the sale or transfer of firearms and prohibiting large capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets are also essential steps in better protecting our communities. The passage of these reasonable restrictions also allows for the protection of our Second Amendment rights for all law-abiding gun owners.
As we have all seen, a more aggressive approach to combating gun violence is imperative. I firmly believe that with the implementation of this comprehensive public safety campaign and the development of a national database to track weapons used in the commission of a crime, gun violence and illegal gun ownership in our community is a problem that can be more effectively reduced.
Remember, Broward County is your home as well as mine. I encourage each resident to be alert and observant. Always report a crime or information about illegally-owned guns by calling Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477). We all play a part in keeping our community safe.
Sheriff Scott Israel