Parkland Report Cites Failures by Sheriff’s Office and School District

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Sun Sentinel/TNS) -

The Broward Sheriff’s Office displayed deficiencies in training, command and individual performance in the response to the Parkland school shooting, according to a draft report released Wednesday by the state commission investigating the massacre.

The report by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission recommends that the sheriff’s office conduct an internal review of the performance of seven deputies who showed up, heard shots and failed to take steps to engage the shooter.

“Several uniformed BSO deputies were either seen on camera or described taking the time to retrieve and put on their ballistic vests, sometimes in excess of one minute and in response to hearing gunshots,” the report states.

“Deputy sheriffs, who took the time to retrieve vests from containers in their cruisers, removed certain equipment they were wearing so that they could put on their vests, and then replaced the equipment they had removed all while shots were being fired, or had been recently fired is unacceptable and contrary to accepted protocol under which the deputies should have immediately moved towards the gunshots to confront the shooter.”

But the report also said that other deputies did respond properly.

“While several deputies have been identified as not properly responding to hearing gunshots, many other deputies responded in the proper manner by running to the scene, seeking out the shooter, providing medical aid and evacuating victims,” states the report, which is being discussed Wednesday and Thursday at the commission’s meeting in Tallahassee.

The report also found problems with command and control in the initial time of the crisis.

“There was abundant confusion over the location of the command post and the role of the staging area. This stemmed from an absence of command and control and an ineffective radio system,” the report said.

Then, referring to the sheriff’s office and Coral Springs police and fire departments, it said, “A unified command consisting of command staff from BSO, CSPD and CSFD took an excessive amount of time to establish.”

The final report will be presented to the governor and state Legislature by Jan. 1.

The commission reviewing the Parkland shooting is also recommending an extensive overhaul of school security measures, including mandating lockdown training for staff and creating safe areas in classrooms called “hard corners.”

Much of the report’s recommendations focus on school security upgrades and standardizing procedures for identifying dangerous students. The report does not recommend new gun control policies.

Established after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took 17 lives, the commission consists of law enforcement officers, public officials and parents of the murdered students.

The panel’s final report is due to the governor and Legislature on Jan. 1.

Democratic State Rep. Jared Moskowtiz, whose district includes the Parkland area, said he expects the report will play a key role in spurring change during the next legislative session.

“I think you’ll see dramatic action from the Legislature and the governor elect’s office,” he said. “The only one responsible for what happened is the parkland shooter, but several significant government failures compounded significantly. The legislature is going to look for accountability on that.”