New sheriff in town
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Psalm 82:3)
One thing is sure and that is while we don’t know how the tenure of new Sheriff Scott Israel will continue, the beginning was both auspicious and promising. Showing a willingness to accept the diversity of the population BSO serves that his predecessor never did, the new Sheriff’s swearing-in ceremony put on display his intention to go where no sheriff has ever gone before.
There were people who looked like us not just in the audience but on the program in roles important and visible. For those of us whom his forebear misled about being concerned with Blacks and other minorities, it was a welcome change.
What some do not understand is that having a diverse group of people in place gives the sheriff (whoever he is), different viewpoints and what some are calling “cognitive diversity.” Another way of saying different people will have different thoughts.
It also means that different people have been under dissimilar influences, have their own circle of associates who too have their own opinions which enlarges the circle of information even more. Homogeneity in all things related to policy evolvement is harmful and ill-considered. The history of this country has proved that truth over and over again.
It is just as important that the new sheriff believes that the three most important things in the life of a BSO employee are the family, the LORD and the agency. And he said, “The LORD and the family come before the agency.”
For too long at BSO, the demand was devotion to the agency came before all else.
And there is much for the new sheriff to do: only about 52 percent of Black males are graduating from high school in Broward County. The impact on our communities and on law enforcement is obvious. Most children who do not graduate high school or are not doing well academically drop out of school. 75 percent of the inmates in state prisons are high school drop-outs and high school dropouts are three times more likely to be arrested in their lifetime.
As one of the most powerful elected officials in Broward County, the sheriff can have a commanding and lasting influence on Broward County schools. It is way past time for understanding there is a deniable connection between young people not getting a diploma and getting a criminal record instead.
My hope too is that he will make sex trafficking and sex slavery trade a priority and use his office to make our community more aware of how pervasive this evil is and how many of our people are involved, either as victims or as perpetrators of this heinous crime.
Illegal drugs and their effect on where we live seems to be what they have always has been: destructive, ongoing and ruining too many lives. Those old and those young. More attention here would be welcome. Al Pollock, one of the sheriff’s new colonels and one of his closest advisors is an expert in this arena.
Finally, while time will be the telling factor in what the new sheriff will do and how he will do what he does, the outlook is positive.