MEET AL POLLOCK
An Experienced Leader Who Will Be a Sheriff You Can Be Proud Of
40 Years of BSO Experience –
Ready to Serve as Your Sheriff
Growing up in Miami-Dade County in the 1970s, I remember adults being irritated about the police officers who patrolled our neighborhood, and how they were treated. Our society then was very different from today.
Years later, after serving in the U.S. Marines as the Vietnam War was ending, and as a postal worker for several years, I reflected on what it was that I really wanted to do. I was very proud of my country and wanted to serve it in a way that had influence and meaning. Guided by my father, a U.S. Postal Service Police Officer, and my mother, a teacher’s aide, I decided to apply to become a deputy sheriff with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
When I joined BSO in 1977, there were about a dozen black deputies. I knew that I needed to perform at the highest possible level to stand out and do my best work. After graduating from the academy, riding with another deputy for several weeks, I was sent to my first assignment in Carver Ranches. I was supposed to meet and shadow another deputy to learn the area but he never showed up. I memorized the cross section of streets and learned about the community. Over time, I developed relationships with the neighborhood’s families by getting out of my patrol car and talking and, more importantly, listening to people. I gained their trust by understanding their circumstances and needs.
I eventually was assigned other responsibilities – narcotics detective; gang and juvenile detective; assistant to the sheriff; sergeant on a multi-agency federal narcotics task force; BSO recruiter; and a sergeant in Dania Beach and Tamarac before moving into command staff positions. In each position, I applied these basic principles: Perform at the highest level of excellence, listen to people, let people do their job and assist them when needed; and not ask someone to do a job that I wouldn’t also do myself.
MANAGED A $299 MILLION BUDGET
When I was a commander for the court services division, a watch commander for the entire county, and a colonel administering the $299 million budget of BSO’s 16 contract cities, I always connected with the organization's roots, visiting deputies and supervisors in uniform patrol, asking if they needed support to do their jobs, listening to their needs, and helping to solve problems. I never stepped in to do their job when I was on a scene as I respected them to perform and lead on their own. If they needed help, I offered it, whether directing traffic or interviewing witnesses if they were short-handed.
The 40 years that I worked for BSO under eight sheriffs enabled me to provide for my family – my wife, Angie, who is also a 35-year law enforcement veteran, and to raise two daughters, LaJuana and Kristen, and two sons, Joshua and Andrew, who also work in law enforcement.
Unfortunately, I became disappointed with the direction BSO was going and retired in 2017. It had become too political and divisive and, for the then-sheriff, self-serving.
Within 24 hours after I retired from BSO, a shooter killed five people at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Thirteen months later, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas students were attacked by a lone gunman. I was upset and angered by both incidents. The essential wording that I helped write into BSO’s policy manual that BSO deputies will engage with an active shooter had been changed under the then-sheriff to the word: may engage. I was devastated by how far BSO had strayed from its original purpose – protect and serve. I was angered by the lack of leadership and responsibility that should have been taken by the then-sheriff. I was terribly saddened by the loss of 17 lives – all of whom deserved a far better outcome.
Forty years of working for BSO have given me an in-depth institutional knowledge of the organization, its professionals, the process for cooperating with people in Broward County, neighboring municipalities, state and federal agencies, and the essential as well as the critical law enforcement and fire-rescue roles are needed in Broward County.
I feel joy when I help others and when I see that the people who work for me are performing their jobs well. Those are my blessings and what gratifies me.
Early on, people gave me the opportunity to be of service to my community. It is my turn to give back by serving as the sheriff of Broward County.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
2017 House of New Vision Hope Award
2016 Liberty Bell Award
Broward County Bar Association
2015 Honorary Chairperson of MADD
City of Fort Lauderdale
Proclamation 2015 Honorary Chairperson of MADD
Broward County Commission
2014 Man of the Year South Florida Shomrim Society
Broward Sheriff’s Office
Grand Cordon Unit Achievement Award
Distinguished Service Commendation
Citation of Merit
International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association
Special Award of Honor