By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Memo to the fatties in Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony’s executive command staff: Time to shape up! That’s an order!
Tony, who Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis told CNN this week is one of his favorite Florida Democrats, has announced a mandatory new “executive physical fitness requirement” for everyone from the rank of colonel to captain starting Jan. 8, 2024. That includes BSO’s fire rescue counterparts.
“I’m not looking to turn anyone into a pro athlete, but I require you ALL to look the part in uniform,” Tony wrote in a memo sent out to BSO’s brass last week. “We cannot set a high standard for physical excellence when some of you don’t look the part.”
The sheriff, a gym rat who cuts a tight figure in a BSO uniform that the state’s police standards and training commission has found probable cause to believe he’s not fit to wear because of his repeated lies under oath, issued his order to coincide with the opening of BSO’s new, $70-million Research, Development and Training Center (RDTC) at its headquarters, 2601 W. Broward Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale.
To restate: that’s $70 million, or way more than double the $30 million price tag the public was told when the project was announced in December 2019.
‘INEXCUSABLE AND UNACCEPTABLE’
Tony’s memo takes the approach of leading by example. But it can also be read as the sheriff making certain that his costly new training center with lots of bells and whistles isn’t underused by requiring his colonels, majors and captains to exercise at the training center “at least three times a week.”
Here’s Tony’s pitch to his command staff: “Collectively, we are responsible for leading almost 6,000 members in this organization. I’ve made a deliberate investment of 70 million dollars to build BSO the finest RDTC. The facility will include more trainers, fitness instructors, dietitians, nutritionists, a sauna, an ice bath, physical therapy station, and more. In other words, it’s inexcusable and unacceptable for any member of my ECS to be obese, overweight, and out of shape. Each of you reflects my leadership and is obliged to maintain a positive posture of physical readiness.
“Our administration has made tremendous strides in enhancing our training, equipment, and overall readiness over the last five years” since Tony took office. “Moreover, we’ve seen a positive impact in recruiting, training and retaining employees. The future success of BSO is firmly interlinked with our ability to lead by example in every capacity, and we must remain creative, innovative, and progressive. To do so, we must be physically and mentally healthy,” he wrote.
The R in RDTC used to stand for Regional, as in for use by law enforcement agencies across the county. Is that still operative? And the name switch to Research, Development and Training Center? What’s that about?
The general contractor for the 88,000-square-foot project was Davie-based ANF Group. The training center is a seven-story building consisting of a five-story parking garage with more than 700 parking spaces and two floors of training space above. The facility includes administrative offices, a 250-seat auditorium, classrooms and training rooms, fire rescue simulation labs, a rappel tower and indoor firearms ranges.
A GENERAL CONTRACTOR’S GIFT TO TONY
In the lobby, there’s a memorial to the 17 people who died in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
On March 31, ANF Group put out a press release to commemorate the topping out of the training center building,
“Today is a very special day as we reach this construction milestone on BSO’s new Regional Training Center,” said Al Fernandez, president of ANF Group. “We are grateful for our partnership with BSO as this cutting-edge project nears completion.”
A BSO photograph shows Tony and Fernandez standing shoulder to shoulder at the site.
Three months later, as finishing work was still being completed, Fernandez showed Tony his gratitude for the job by delivering a check for $25,000 from ANF to Tony’s political committee, Broward First.