Broward Sheriff Scott Israel is seeking 49 new positions in his proposed budget for next year, saying more than half of the extra employees are needed to carry out new responsibilities to take guns away from people who are a danger to themselves or others.
The state passed a so-called “red flag” law in response to massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Since March, the Sheriff’s Office has had 47 cases submitted, with 22 cases so far where the removal of guns was approved. A few cases have been declined and the rest are still being investigated, officials said.
“Because of the horrific tragedy in Parkland, our world in Broward County and the United States of America has basically changed,” Israel said. “Risk protection orders, RPOs if you will, is the new norm. Basically what these are are orders that allow police to seize firearms from people that we believe are a danger to themselves, mentally ill, and it expands our ability to make Broward County safe.”
The sheriff’s overall budget is 4.6 percent higher than last year. It’s what county officials had requested, based on an expected increase in the county’s property tax revenue base due do to increased valuations.
Israel plans to hire 31 employees to handle the risk protection orders.
That includes sworn personnel to service the orders, confiscate the weapons, conduct the threat assessment investigations, related support personnel, and legal work to draft and file the orders and represent the Sheriff’s Office in court.
“Right now, it’s all hands on deck,” Col. Tom Harrington said.
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