Broward County

Deputies were told to set up ‘perimeter’ around Parkland shooting. That’s not the training

A law enforcement officer rushes toward Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after former student Nikolas Cruz attacked students and staff with a rifle.
A law enforcement officer rushes toward Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after former student Nikolas Cruz attacked students and staff with a rifle. Sun Sentinel

The Broward Sheriff’s Office captain who initially took charge of the chaotic scene at a Parkland high school where 17 people were killed told deputies to form a perimeter around the deadly scene — which they did instead of going in to confront the shooter, according to a partial BSO dispatch log obtained by the Miami Herald.

Capt. Jan Jordan, commander of BSO’s Parkland district, gave the order, the log shows, identifying her by her police call sign.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has said BSO training and nationwide active-shooter procedure call for armed law enforcement officers to confront shooters immediately rather than secure a scene.

The document raises fresh questions about the department’s handling of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Before being appointed to command Parkland, Jordan was assigned to BSO’s civil division, which serves subpoenas and injunctions, according to her online biography. She was previously with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, where Israel also worked.

BSO did not directly dispute that Jordan issued a stand-down order. Nor did the agency confirm it.

“If detectives had answers to all of the questions, then there would be no need for an investigation,” BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright wrote in an email late Thursday night.

Israel has already publicly lambasted one deputy, Scot Peterson, who did not enter a Stoneman Douglas building where Nikolas Cruz mowed down students and staff. Three other BSO deputies were also stationed outside the school, according to CNN. Coral Springs police officers were the first law enforcement to enter the building, about four minutes after Cruz left the school, Israel said on the cable network.

A rally in support of Broward sheriff Scott Israel was held in Pompano Beach on March 1, 2018.

Time stamps were not visible on the log of calls to BSO dispatch obtained by the Herald. But a fuller version shared earlier with Fox News shows the shooting — which lasted roughly six minutes — would have been over by the time of Jordan’s order.

Cruz’s gun is reported to have jammed during the shooting, causing him to flee the scene and possibly ending his deadly rampage earlier than he intended.

Still, he should have been confronted by deputies as soon as they arrived, Israel has said.

Peterson, who resigned last week but is defending his actions, was trained to have “killed the killer,” Israel has said.

BSO has generally refused to answer questions about how the shooting was handled, citing an ongoing internal investigation, and is examining the conduct of its deputies and commanders. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has also been tasked with investigating.

Israel did not return a phone call Thursday. Jordan could not be reached.

She is one of three finalists for the police chief job in Tequesta, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Wanda J. DeMarzo is a freelance journalist.

Broward County School Superintendent Robert W. Runcie talks about what their going to do with the school building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.