Were Broward Deputies Ill-Prepared for Parkland Massacre?

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Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies who responded to the deadly Parkland, Fla., school shooting on Feb. 14 had not been through their department’s active shooter training since 2015 or 2016, reports the Miami Herald. Several deputies took cover behind their cars while gunfire raged inside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School building where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people, according to police reports. At least one deputy seemed to know where the shooter was. The deputies’ conduct has been highly criticized — especially the school’s resource officer, Deputy Scot Peterson, who soon resigned — because officers from Coral Springs rushed toward the building where the shooting occurred.

One possible explanation for the difference in response: the Broward sheriff hasn’t done an active shooter training cycle since 2016. In contrast, most of the first Coral Springs officers to arrive went through active shooter training in 2017. Coral Springs, a smaller department, says its officers do active shooter training drills every year. Coral Springs Chief Clyde Parry said, “We’ve trained for these incidents and when we got there the training kicked in and our officers did exactly what they were trained to do.” In incident reports released last week, two Coral Springs officers said they saw Broward deputies seemingly unaware of what to do during the mass shooting. Jeff Heinrich, an unarmed Coral Springs cop who happened to be at Stoneman Douglas that day in shorts and a t-shirt, said he saw children running and screaming from a school building, including one with a grievous wound to his ankle. He ran to help. “I then observed an unknown (Broward) deputy standing outside of his vehicle … and I began yelling at him that there was an active killer and that I have a gunshot victim,” Heinrich wrote.

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