Broward Sheriff Clashes With Union President Over Coronavirus Response

BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39, died Friday night after testing positive for COVID-19

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Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony held a news conference Tuesday to respond to the president of a BSO union who has been critical of the department's response to the coronavirus pandemic just days after one of his deputies died after testing positive for the virus.

Tony spoke out Tuesday in response to Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association Union, who has criticized the agency's preparedness for COVID-19 and said staff aren't being given adequate supplies.

"We've spent thousands of hours burning the midnight candle to make sure we do everything we can to safeguard this community and the men and women who are out here," Tony said. "We will spend every dime of this agency to protect this community and the men and women on the front line, we will not come up short and penny pinch during a time of crisis."

Bell's criticism came after the death of 39-year-old BSO Deputy Shannon Bennett, who died Friday night after testing positive for COVID-19. Bennett, a 12-year veteran of BSO, had worked as a resource officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School.

As of Tuesday, 36 BSO employees had tested positive for coronavirus and 187 were being monitored at home.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony had strong words for a union president as he reported 36 employees tested positive for coronavirus.

Tony said the department was working to make sure staff have enough personal protective equipment, distributing N95 masks, surgical masks and hand sanitizer bottles.

Tony said all staff are screened before entering any BSO facility, and work areas are being cleaned on an enhanced schedule.

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