The first thing Governor DeSantis should do after he takes the oath of office as Florida’s new governor is remove this idiot as Sheriff. And the new one should not have had one thing to do with law enforcement in Broward County.
In a mind-boggling move, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has outlined new protocol for his staff, which includes directives to engage shooters — apparently a new concept to the employees. Israel was in this same position the day a gunman killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.
In a letter to the state commission investigating the shooting, Israel said all deputies had eight hours of active-shooter training and school deputies received a week of training on how to deal with potential incidents. “Be assured, the reforms adopted to date are not the end of this process,” Israel wrote. “Rather, they are a midway point as we continue working towards addressing all of the findings related to our agency and implementing all of the Commission’s recommendations.”
A curious note added to the written policy: Deputies must try to confront active shooters. Previously, wording said deputies “may” intervene in a situation like the shooting in Parkland.
The contents of this report are outlandish in a number of ways. First, it’s been nearly a year since the shooting occurred. Numerous investigations via the Sun Sentinel, the local paper, have shown the tragedy was largely the fault of the failure of the sheriff’s department to act quickly, professionally, and frankly, to act at all. (Just weeks ago a video was released of one deputy reaching the scene. It takes him an entire minute just to get his vest on as the popping sound of the shooter’s gun can be heard loud and clear from his body cam.)
Due to this failure, and his inability to accept blame, Scott Israel should not still be employed in that leadership position as he is clearly incapable of navigating the responsibilities it presents. In an interview with the Washington Times, Israel said he was willing to make necessary changes but didn’t take responsibility or acknowledge that he failed to protect the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He said, “I’m certainly responsible for everything that goes on at the agency, good or bad. But as I’ve said before, the only person responsible for the deaths of those individuals and shooting 17 other people is the killer.”
Of course, he is technically right, but that’s also a complete avoidance of reality and obfuscation of his actual job, which is to protect the county and the kids in that school. Not only did his deputies fail to do that, but the one stationed at the school, Scot Peterson, never even set foot inside the building the entire time the shooter was actively murdering students. Instead, out of fear and cowardice, he busied himself with blocking off traffic and setting up parameters even as he could hear gunfire. He is facing lawsuits from Parkland parents because of his negligence.
Second, it’s unclear why a sheriff’s office would have had to clarify that the very people they train to protect and defend the public can and should confront any threat, anywhere, but especially at a school. (And again, how in the world did it take a year to come to this obvious conclusion?). This should not only have already been outlined, but if deputies actually are using this lack of wording, or vague wording, as an excuse for why they didn’t do anything that day, they are in the wrong field.
Something went very wrong that day, and it’s taken nearly a year to figure out that the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, as well as high school officials, were woefully unprepared and quite negligent in their duties. Not only that, but the Sun Sentinel reported the school had engaged in quite a cover-up to prevent the slain students’ parents from realizing how much they really could have done to prevent the shooting.
It’s a tragedy, and even though much of Israel’s letter was an understatement, I hope it provides the kick in the rear end those employees seem to need.