The fight to be Broward County’s sheriff is déjà vu all over again.
Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti is being challenged by the same candidate he defeated in 2008 – Democrat Scott Israel.
Israel says Lamberti needs to go, claiming the Broward Sheriff's Office is not doing a good enough job for the cities it serves, including Pompano Beach and Oakland Park.
“Crime is on the rise in those communities, and those communities are very disappointed in the policing they’re getting. What I would say to them is it all starts with communication,” Israel said.
Lamberti counters that the BSO is identifying problems – and making a difference.
“It's not just about me. It’s about the 6,000 men and women that come to work every single day, and serve the citizens every minute of every day," he said.
Israel touts his record as police chief of North Bay Village in Miami-Dade County, saying he will have a hands-on approach if he is elected.
“I’ll be out in the field,” he said. “When I was chief in North Bay, it was very common for me to knock on a door at midnight and tell an officer, ‘Hey, I’m going to ride around with you.’”
The incumbent points to his record of taking on the big crime issues facing Broward residents – mainly identity theft, synthetic drugs and pill mills.
“Broward County, we were the black eye of the nation where we were the epicenter and ground zero for pill mills. We’ve reduced it to 56,” Lamberti said. “You know, we had more pill mills than Starbucks, more pill mills than McDonald’s.”
The mudslinging is in full force, with attack ads hitting at the character of each candidate. Both candidates dismissed the other’s televised accusations.
Broward voters will make the final decision on who will be sheriff for the next four years on Tuesday.