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National
Florida sheriff rejects calls from state lawmaker for his ouster after Parkland school shooting
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Florida sheriff rejects calls from state lawmaker for his ouster after Parkland school shooting

WATCH: Florida Sheriff Attends Town Hall For Gun Reform

Florida sheriff rejects calls from state lawmaker for his ouster after Parkland school shooting

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel attacked Rep. Bill Hager’s call for his ouster as “riddled with factual errors, unsupported gossip and falsehoods,” in a response issued late Saturday night.

>> Read more trending news 

State. Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday calling on him to remove Israel for “neglect and incompetence” over the handling of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

Israel said Hager falsely claimed the school resource officer and three other Broward Sheriff deputies were on campus during the shooting and took cover. Deputy Scot Peterson, of suburban Boynton Beach, was the only one on the campus at the time of the attack, Israel wrote in his own letter to Scott.

>> Related: State Rep. urges FL Gov. Rick Scott to oust Broward sheriff over Parkland shooting

Peterson resigned Thursday after he was suspended without pay and faced likely termination. An initial investigation showed he was outside the building where the shooting took place but didn’t enter for at least four minutes. Peterson received active shooter training but did not follow protocols, Israel said.

CNN reported Friday that when Coral Springs police arrived at the school, three other Broward deputies were outside the building but did not go in. Coral Springs received the 911 call and was dispatched to the active shooter incident before the call was transferred to BSO dispatch, according to Israel. Those Coral Spring officers entered the building, followed by more Coral Springs officers and Broward deputies.

>> Related: Parkland victim’s dad: My daughter will be last kid murdered in school

Israel also accused Hager of falsely claiming Broward Sheriff deputies visited Nikolas Cruz’s home 39 times. There were 23 calls for service involving Cruz, who confessed to the shooting, or his family. Eighteen involved Cruz directly, and the rest involved his brother, according to the sheriff.

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch repeatedly said there were 39 calls to Cruz’s home during a CNN town hall Wednesday.

None of them were offenses that warranted arrest, according to the sheriff. Most were “routine parenting issues,” such as the brothers fighting or one of them banging pool equipment against the house, according to Israel.

>> Related: Armed Stoneman Douglas resource officer 'never went in' during Florida shooting

Two encounters are still under review. In a subsequent incident at school, the school resource officer referred Cruz to the Department of Children and Families, and he received mental health counseling, DCF supervision and medication for 2 1/2 months before DCF closed the case, according to the sheriff.

The BSO deputy who handled the call that’s still under internal investigation referred the person who reported the issue to Palm Beach County law enforcement, because Cruz had moved.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks at a news conference, flanked by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, right, and state Attorney General Pam Bondi.
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Deputy who failed to engage Parkland shooter had soild work history

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel speaks at a news conference, flanked by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, right, and state Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Lastly, Israel said Hager was wrong to criticize the sheriff’s office for being under review in the past, specifically after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. All police agencies perform self-assessments after any major incident so they know how they can do better, Israel said. The problems to which Hager referred were identified by BSO itself, he said.

>> Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

The sheriff’s office caught the killer in the Fort Lauderdale Airport attack within 80 seconds of the first shot being fired, Israel said.

Israel was elected in 2012 and 2016.

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In some cases, consumer advocate groups say the public is overwhelmed by “data breach fatigue.” “I feel like people are so confused that they’ve resigned themselves to the idea that there’s just going to be a breach,” said Litt, who co-wrote the September 2018 report “Equifax Breach: One Year Later. How to Protect Yourself Against ID Theft & Hold Equifax Accountable.” If you remember, the breach exposed the Social Security numbers and personal data of hundreds of millions of Americans. Here’s a simplified version of what you should know: Consumers are vulnerable to all forms of identity theft, including bank fraud, utility fraud and insurance fraud, Litt said. But the most common type of fraud is credit card theft, which represents about one-third of cases, according to a federal online database. The database keeps track of reports by consumers about problems in the marketplace, and reflects consumer reports submitted to the federal agency, as well as state agencies and other organizations. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission reported a total of more than 139,000 cases of credit card fraud, representing new and existing accounts, according to its Sentinel database. Compared to last year, there has been a rise of 20 percent on fraud of existing accounts. Tax- and wage-related fraud represent about 18 percent of cases. Phone or utilities fraud, which includes cellphones, landlines and utilities, make up about 12 percent. You don’t have to spend many hours trying to protect your sensitive information. Creating fraud and consumer alerts and investing in credit monitoring services might be a good idea, experts say. The FTC offers free credit reports. You can also go to the official government website  that walks you through a checklist of actions you can take to recover from identity theft. But most important is that you take certain steps, such as making sure you have secure passwords, shredding important documents and equipping your computer with the right software. If your data has been compromised, it’s important to understand what type of data has been accessed. For example, thieves who have your credit card number aren’t as big a threat as those who may have access to your Social Security data. You can more easily cancel your credit card and get a card with a new account number. But a thief who has your Social Security number and date of birth can try to file your tax return or get a hold of your government benefits. Here what experts at PIRG say are the different types of fraud and what you can do: In cases of existing bank account fraud, it’s important to know that it can only be detected after the fraud has occurred. What you can do? Check your monthly credit card and bank statements. Sign up for free text or email alerts about changes to your accounts. If you receive a call from your bank alleging fraud, never provide any personal information. Instead, call the number on the back of your bank card and check with the security department. Consumers who worry about new account fraud of their cellphones, credit cards, loan and utilities can prevent these by getting credit freezes at all three nationwide credit bureaus. It is also a good idea to check your free annual credit reports or sign up for free credit monitoring. As 2019 rolls around, you might want to take extra steps to prevent fraud related to your tax refund. You can file your taxes as soon as possible, before thieves do, and get an Identity Protection number or PIN that will secure the refund amount to you. Social Security benefits fraud can be prevented if you sign up for a MySSA account before thieves can claim it and change your direct deposit information to their own checking accounts. A freeze on your credit report also blocks thieves from claiming your online account. You may want to check your MySSA account for any changes to your personal information that might indicate thieves trying to claim your benefits. Medical benefits fraud can only be detected after it has occurred. You might want to sign up for online accounts with your health care and insurance providers to periodically check for any fraudulent services on your statements. Fraud while applying for a job, getting insurance or renting a home can only be detected after the fraud has occurred. You might want to check your annual consumer reports with companies that specialize in collecting certain information, including checking writing, employment, insurance claims and tenant histories.
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