Broward County

BSO’s new commander replaces captain who was in charge during the Parkland mass shooting

Capt. Chris Mulligan will be the new Parkland command district leader for the Broward Sheriff’s Office effective Aug. 4, 2018.
Capt. Chris Mulligan will be the new Parkland command district leader for the Broward Sheriff’s Office effective Aug. 4, 2018. Broward Sheriff's Office

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has a new district leader.

Capt. Chris Mulligan, who has 16 years worth of SWAT experience and who has been with BSO since 1999, assumes the Parkland command on Saturday, the city of Parkland announced Friday.

Mulligan “will be the city’s new police captain,” Parkland said in a statement. “The city’s current contract with the Broward Sheriff’s Office for comprehensive police services provides for 42 personnel, including one captain, and is being modified to add a sergeant whose sole function will be to oversee school resource officers at the five Broward County Public Schools located in Parkland.”

City Manager Bob Payton, who pushed for the changes in June, said, “Capt. Mulligan took firm command of the job and it was quickly apparent that his 16 years of SWAT training, his work with our school principals over the summer, his preparations for the first day of school, and his propensity for community outreach would make for the safest, most seamless transition.

“As we were looking for someone who could do the job, he actually was doing it,” Payton said.

Mulligan’s new role has him running BSO’s Parkland command where he will oversee a staff of 42 personnel.

The moves come after confessed shooter and former student Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people, including students and administrators, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

As late as March, BSO had defended Capt. Jan Jordan, who ordered deputies to set up a perimeter around Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after law enforcement officers responded to the mass shooting. BSO’s Fact Check website said Jordan handled the situation in accordance with training.

But by June, almost four months after the massacre, Parkland urged BSO to replace Jordan and she was transferred to an administration department with BSO.

“Capt. Jordan has provided great leadership to the city of Parkland and I am truly thankful for her service,” Payton told the Miami Herald at the time. But he still sought changes in the command department.

“In coordination with this comprehensive public safety evaluation process, I have proactively requested that Sheriff Scott Israel provide three recommendations to fulfill the upgraded role of major,” Payton said in a statement, WPLG Local 10 reported. “It is my intent to upgrade the role of captain to major prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year to continue the advancement of the city’s public safety initiatives.”

Jordan, who was put in the role of commander by Israel in March 2017, was criticized by special teams of Coral Springs paramedics who were forbidden from entering the school to treat victims because Cruz had yet to be captured.

However, in July, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri — the chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission — tried to deflect criticism against Jordan by blaming, instead, communications failures — like the overloading of BSO’s radio system — that he said hindered Jordan’s ability to speak with her deputies and get a grip on the situation.

“I think that this is probably the first of many changes that we’re going to see as far as public safety in this area,” Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, who represents Parkland, told WPLG. “When you have what you had on Feb. 14, there’s got to be accountability.”

Residents can meet Mulligan from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Parkland Night Out event at Pine Trails Park, 10555 Trails End. The event was organized, in part, by Mulligan.

“The community policing initiatives spearheaded by Capt. Mulligan offer opportunities for residents to meet and engage with the SRO’s and receive first-hand information about new public safety efforts,” Payton said. “In addition to these efforts, the City looks forward to CPSM completing its thorough review of the City’s existing agreement for police services.”

Parkland has also contracted with the Center for Public Safety Management “to review the city’s current agreement for police services with BSO and analyze the level of police services desired by the city and its residents,” the city said in its statement. In addition, the new contract with the center would make recommendations for 911 call processing, “and conduct a security assessment of city-owned facilities and parks. The final report will likely be completed and submitted to the City by the end of the year.”

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