Broward Sheriff’s training manual: First officers on scene should ‘confront the shooter’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 15, 2018

Broward County Sheriff’s Office training and operation materials specifically dictate that the first one or two officers on the scene of an active shooter incident “will immediately go to confront the shooter,” a government watchdog group which obtained the materials reported.

The Sheriff’s Office lesson plan, obtained by Judicial Watch, instructs officers to immediately confront a shooter:

Four officers arrived on the scene of the Parkland shooting but did not enter the school building. / Getty Images

“History shows when a suspect is confronted by any armed individual (police, security, concealed carry person) they either shoot it out with that person or kill themselves. Either way, the shooting of innocent bystanders must stop. Now, the first officer or two officers on scene will immediately go to confront the shooter. Military tactics work well in this situation. The two man ‘bounding overwatch’ is our response.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told CNN on Feb. 25 that he has taken the department to a “new level” and that his leadership has been nothing short of “amazing.”

Israel made the comments despite Broward County confirming that deputies had received at least 18 calls from 2008 to 2017 warning them about Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Israel had announced on Feb. 22 that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer Scot Peterson had been suspended and decided to retire rather than be terminated after learning Peterson failed to enter the school during the shooting.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office’s Standard Operating Procedure and lesson plans for an active shooter incident were obtained by Judicial Watch via a Florida Sunshine Act records request.

The sheriff’s office confirmed that armed school resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson was first on the scene of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but he did not enter the school to confront shooter Nikolas Cruz.

“These Broward County Sheriff’s Office documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the law enforcement agency failed the victims of the Parkland shooting victims,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Lives were lost in Parkland because the sheriff’s office personnel were either poorly trained or failed to follow training protocols.”

Three other deputies also arrived on the scene but did not enter, the sheriff’s office said. The Broward County materials direct that if four officers are on the scene of an active shooter incident they are to form a “Quad” formation and enter the building.

“During Columbine, the response to an ongoing shooting situation was to contain the suspect. After Columbine the International Chiefs of Police addressed the problem with the response and came up with the ‘Quad’ or diamond formation. With the quad, the first four officers to respond entered the building with coverage in all directions. This was critical to address the concerns of officers who previously would not enter and just wait for SWAT.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said during a news conference that “What I saw was a deputy [Peterson] arrive … take up a position and he never went in.” Israel said Peterson should have “[a]ddressed the killer. Killed the killer.”

The lesson plan clearly states: “If you are on scene or in the area and hear gunshots, you should immediately access what you have and prepare to respond. Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.”

The lesson plan lists “priorities of life” as: 1) Hostages/victims; 2) Innocent Bystanders; 3) Police/deputies; and 4) Suspects. “If in doubt about going through the door after a suspect, think about the victims and where they stand on the list.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper told Israel: “Maybe you measure somebody’s leadership by whether or not they protect the community. In this case, you’ve listed 23 incidents before the shooting involving the shooter and still nothing was done to keep guns out of his hands, to make sure that the school was protected, to make sure you were keeping an eye on him … I don’t understand how you can sit there and claim amazing leadership.”

Records obtained by Judicial Watch also show that Sheriff Israel is the second highest paid of Florida’s 67 sheriffs at $186,631 for Fiscal Year 2017/18. The sheriff was eligible for $2,000 in supplemental pay for completion of a 20-hour training course. In 2016, Israel received a warning letter that he had not successfully completed the course and his supplemental pay was being withheld.


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