Former Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro died Wednesday afternoon at the age of 81.
With his health failing fast, Navarro was escorted home from the hospital Wednesday afternoon by sheriff's deputies, where he died about 2:30 p.m., surrounded by family and friends.
Navarro recently underwent a second surgery at Holy Cross Hospital for a recurrence of colon cancer.
After Navarro, a Republican, was elected in 1984, the Broward Sheriff's Office grew from 1,600 employees and a budget of $74 million to more than 3,000 employees and a $200 million budget. Today the office has over 5,800 hundred employees and a budget of $650 million.
Navarro was also on the cutting edge of reality television. That same year, Navarro allowed Fox Television crews to film its first season of "COPS" in Broward County.
"I'll always remember seeing my first episode of "COPS," stated John Fischer on Facebook. "The undercover drug bust sting, with the wood paneled truck driving around with the team of undercover cops in the back of the truck, hidden behind the wood panels that someone had spray painted - "Nicks Trash Removal Company."
While Sheriff, Navarro also cracked down on the sale of 2 Live Crew albums in South Florida.
In 1989, Governor Bob Martinez suggested that the lyrics on an album by 2 Live Crew was indecent and said store owners selling the album should be arrested.
This was especially so when 2 Live Crew referred to both Navarro and the governor's wife in an extremely vulgar fashion by singing in their album,"F..k Navarro" and "Martinez's wife - she suck's a mean d..k."
Members of 2 Live Crew were arrested at Club Futura in Hollywood after the concert. A Broward County Court judge later dismissed the charges stating that the album was an expression of free speech.
Flags at the BSO headquarters in Fort Lauderdale have been brought to the half mast position in honor of the former sheriff. They will remain in the half mast position until midnight on the day of Navarro's funeral.
Sheriff Al Lamberti gave a news conference.
"He was a cop's cop," stated Lamberti, who had known Navarro his entire career. "Nick never stopped being Sheriff."
Navarro led the Broward Sheriff's Office from 1985 until 1992. After losing the primary election days after Hurricane Andrew, he retired and formed the Navarro Security Group.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Navarro family during this difficult time," BSO Chaplain Rick Braswell wrote in a memo to BSO personnel.
Funeral arrangements are pending. For more information, please contact Chaplain Braswell at (954) 205-1691.