A Florida panel has found probable cause to move forward in the process that could revoke the law enforcement certification of Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony.
Florida's Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission held a hearing Tuesday where they considered 80 disciplinary cases, including Tony's, Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Dana Kelly said in a statement.
"The three-member Commission panel determined there is probable cause for continuing the professional compliance/disciplinary process," Kelly's statement read. "This is not a determination to revoke any of the respondents’ certifications."
Now that probable cause was found, Tony can proceed with a formal or informal hearing, or can voluntarily relinquish his criminal justice certification, according to the state's professional compliance process.
If there's a formal hearing, an administrative law judge will give a recommended order, which the commission can decide to accept or reject.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Tony sheriff in January 2019, just days after taking office. He had fired Tony's predecessor, Scott Israel, for his alleged mishandling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in February 2018, a decision that was upheld by the Florida Senate.
An FDLE report issued earlier this year said Tony repeatedly lied on his police applications, including failing to disclose that he fatally shot another teenager during a fight when he was 14. Tony was later found to have acted in self-defense and acquitted, but the applications required the disclosure of all arrests no matter the court decision.
The FDLE said Tony could not be criminally charged because the false statements happened so long ago the statute of limitations had expired.
Before becoming sheriff, Tony worked for the Coral Springs Police Department from 2005 until 2016, working his way up to sergeant. He resigned to run a police consulting firm that specialized in active shooter training. DeSantis appointed him on the recommendation of the father of a Stoneman Douglas victim who knew him from the gym where they both worked out. The vetting process was completed in days.
The 20-page FDLE report said Tony lied by answering “no” when asked if he had ever been arrested for a felony when he successfully applied to the police academy in 2004 and again when Coral Springs hired him in 2005. It said he also falsely answered “no” on a Coral Springs background questionnaire when asked “Have you ever injured or caused the death of another person?” and “Were you ever in a fight involving a weapon?”
The investigation found that in 2003, Tony answered truthfully that he had once used LSD as a teenager when he applied for a job with the Tallahassee Police Department, his first law enforcement application. After that admission caused his rejection, investigators found that on subsequent police applications Tony answered “no” when asked if he had ever used or handled hallucinogenic drugs.
Investigators say Tony also repeatedly lied on police and Florida driver’s license applications by answering “no” when asked if his license was ever suspended. Pennsylvania had suspended his license in 1996 for failing to pay traffic tickets. That last happened in 2019 when he applied for a new license shortly after he became sheriff.
Even if he loses his law enforcement certification, Tony, who successfully ran in the November 2020 election to keep his job for a four-year term, would keep his job since elected sheriffs aren't required to be certified.
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