Florida

Broward Deputies Revise Active-Shooting Policy Following Parkland Flub

The Parkland shooting has led to policy changes, controversial court rulings, and even a free speech lawsuit.

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|||Mike Stocker/TNS/Newscom
Mike Stocker/TNS/Newscom

The Broward County Sheriff's Office (BSO) has updated some of its active-shooting policies following an intense backlash to how officers responded to shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Some officers within the Coral Springs Police Department allegedly expressed frustration after BSO deputies remained outside while Coral Springs cops rushed into the school. Sheriff Scott Israel later confirmed that Scot Peterson, the resource officer assigned to the school, remained outside. Peterson resigned as a result of the controversy, but not before locking down an $8,702.35-a-month lifetime pension.

In December, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a lawsuit filed by some of the survivors claiming that their 14th Amendment rights were violated when the deputies did not enter the school. Bloom wrote in her opinion that neither the school nor the sheriff's department had a constitutional duty to protect children. While Florida has criminal penalties for nonattendance, Bloom ruled that custodial protections extended only to groups like prisoners.

The BSO changed its active shooter policy despite the decision. An internal memo states that deputies "shall attempt to protect the life of innocent persons through immediate tactical intervention to eliminate the threat." According to the Miami Herald, a previous version stated that deputies "may" enter a scene.

"The use of the word 'may' in the BSO policy is ambiguous and does not unequivocally convey the expectation that deputies are expected to immediately enter an active assailant scene where gunfire is active and neutralize the threat," wrote a state public safety commission in a report. They also found that several deputies could not remember the last time they attended an active shooter training, and many instead referenced the old policy.

The BSO's decision to remain outside the school spurred months of criticism, speculation, and lawsuits. Local newspapers and free speech groups sued to obtain footage from the outside of the school, arguing that the public had a right to know how law enforcement responded. The school board and the state attorney refused to release the footage until an appeals court ordered them to release the footage in July.

Interview transcripts released by prosecutors revealed that school officials monitoring a video feed from the scene rewound the feed by more than 20 minutes, which confused efforts to assess the shooter's location. Despite this, interviews show that the Coral Springs officers still attempted to act on the information they had. One officer, Richard Best, recalled making his way into a building with his rifle and a medical bag. Best also recalled encountering Peterson, who told him where he believed the shooter to be located. When Best headed to another part of the school, he said, "Deputy Peterson just stayed where he was."

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24 responses to “Broward Deputies Revise Active-Shooting Policy Following Parkland Flub

  1. It could have been like Maryland, stopped in minutes with a good guy with a gun like the security guard who’s JOB it was to protect those innocent people!!!
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    1. Then the police show up and shoot the security guard.

      1. True, and a tragedy for the good guy and his/her family–yet it might be judged by the good guy (though admittedly not by his family) worth it to prevent that sort of mass casualty of students.

  2. “Updated Policy: Do something EXCEPT hide outside like a simpering pussy and then blame the NRA because you cannot do shit. We cannot rely on moron high schoolers taking our side while we sat back and allowed their friends to get slaughtered”

    1. there were also two other un armed officers at that school one who saw the shooter as he entered but did nothing, even though he knew that person was not allowed on campus, but he did warn the other officer at the school who hid in a closet

      1. And both are still doubtless employed.

  3. In December, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a lawsuit filed by some of the survivors claiming that their 14th Amendment rights were violated when the deputies did not enter the school. Bloom wrote in her opinion that neither the school nor the sheriff’s department had a constitutional duty to protect children. While Florida has criminal penalties for nonattendance, Bloom ruled that custodial protections extended only to groups like prisoners.

    This needs to be mentioned, ENDLESSLY, anytime anybody mentions gun control.

    Unless you’re in jail, the police are under no obligation to do a fucking thing for you.

    1. I agree that the conduct of the deputy was appalling, though it’s not entirely clear to me whether it was primarily a product of cowardice or of bad policy/training.

      But it’s hard for me not to roll my eyes when the 14th Amendment comes up in a situation like this. As a firm believer in the negative theory of rights, I don’t believe that there’s a Constitutional right to police protection. At most there’d be a right against some sort of class-based denial of services generally available to all.

      The claim that there’s a right to “custodial protection” in an environment where the right to self-defense is limited is… inventive, but I’m not persuaded.

      1. The claim that there’s a right to “custodial protection” in an environment where the right to self-defense is limited is…

        An environment where children are required by law to be. So there is another element. The same authorities who force people to attend the school also deny them the right of self defense while they’re there.

      2. The government is rounding up people, forcing them to relinquish any weapons they have for their own protection, and then refusing to protect them from predation? That can’t be right.

  4. Bloom ruled that custodial protections extended only to groups like prisoners

    When children are in school they are custodial to the state since its a crime to not attend school much like a prisoner

  5. 87 hundred a month for once cowering in safety. What a DEAL!
    I hope every time he identifies himself someone reminds him and others of his ‘service’.

  6. deputies “shall attempt to protect the life of innocent persons through immediate tactical intervention to eliminate the threat.”

    Immediate tactical intervention? They called the Coral Springs PD, didn’t they? What more do you want from people who can’t comprehend three- and four-syllable words?

  7. Local efforts to prevent gun violence are certainly worth considering. But the most important thing to remember is the need for fundamental change to our absurd gun laws at a national level. Because of the vast influence of the NRA ? according to Palin’s Buttplug it’s the #1 most powerful lobby in the US ? our country has the worst gun laws in the developed world.

    We need to fight back against the gun fetishists by enacting common sense policies like these:
    Ban deadly military style assault weapons.
    Establish mandatory background checks for all firearm and ammo purchases.
    Overturn the Heller decision.

    1. Dear Palin’s buttplug,
      In case your search engine is in the shop for repairs, take a look here; https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php?id=
      The pitiful NRA cannot break into the top 50.

      1. I’m not Palin’s Buttplug, but when he made this claim about the NRA he backed it up with this link.

        #UnbanPalinsButtplug

        PS ? I should have said “most powerful special interest group” rather than “most powerful lobby.”

    2. Those kids were protected by access control, security cameras, armed police and a gun free zone. None of it worked.

      But don’t arm teachers.

    3. How many people are you willing to see die in a Civil War in order to get all that?

      Are you willing to kill to get it?

      Are you willing to die to get it?

      I’m willing to die to try and stop it.

      And remember, YOU may not be able to avoid the consequence of what you’re asking for.

  8. “Bloom ruled that custodial protections extended only to groups like prisoners.”

    Let’s see:
    Mandatory attendance required
    Self defense prohibited by arms confiscation
    No choice in where to go or when to be there
    Monitored by armed and unarmed adults operating under state certifications

    Exactly who is not in custody here?

    1. Self defense prohibited by arms confiscation

      FTFY. This was the policy in my HS way back in ancient times. Even defending yourself was subject to disciplinary action. I’m betting it hasn’t changed much.

  9. Possible options:
    I am related to someone who was a deputy sheriff on the swat team at the time of Columbine. Within two weeks, every member of the department who was authorized to carry arms had been through every school in the county to become familiar with the layouts. Standing orders were to confirm backup was enroute, then enter the building and kill the shooter. Sort of a ‘one riot, one ranger’ kind of thing.
    Crude, but effective.

  10. There really isn’t anything an updated policy can’t fix. And more training. And a blue ribbon commission.

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