News from
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Mike Wood
Author: Mike Wood

It’s disappointing that it took another school shooting for the greater public and our government representatives to get fully engaged in a dialogue about school safety, but there finally seems to be some critical mass behind reform, and that could be the most positive outcome from a horrible situation.

Unfortunately, some of the loudest voices in the room are those least qualified or suited to lead the discussion. Some are focused on political goals like reelection, or placing greater restrictions on gun ownership, some are straying beyond their expertise, and there’s some who are just too emotionally wrought to clearly add to the conversation.

This is a time when law enforcement professionals need to step up to the plate and be a guiding influence. We need to show leadership on an issue where we clearly have something important to contribute.

Stay in our lane

School safety is not a law enforcement problem, at its core. We are definitely part of the solution, but not the total solution. As such, it is critical for law enforcement to approach the task of improving school security with a collaborative mindset.

Before we offer our assistance, we need to understand the limits of our expertise. As law enforcement officers, we have unique training and experience that qualify us to contribute to the solution, but there are many facets to this problem, and there’s room for a lot of hands to work on it.

For example, any serious discussion of school safety must incorporate the larger issue of mental health reform. As law enforcement officers, you know firsthand about the breakdown in mental health services in America, because you inherited the primary responsibility for dealing with the mentally ill after we deinstitutionalized the mental health system in the 1970s. However, our training and expertise don’t lie directly in this area, so we need to ensure that the trained professionals in this field are part of the team creating the solution.

Implementing a layered defense to school security

The area we can contribute the most is in the area of physical security, tactics and training. To that end, the most important thing we can teach the public is that school safety requires a layered defense.

There’s no single magic bullet that will make a school safe from attack. Any proper school defense plan requires multiple layers of defenses and redundancies to ensure a failure in one area doesn’t doom the entire effort.

To that end, the task list for creating a solid school security plan must include a rigorous treatment of the following areas:

1. Create a robust safety culture

Administrators, teachers and students must be trained to be mindful of safety and security at all times. For example, students and staff should be trained to actively look for unauthorized visitors, unsecured doors, strange activities, or signs of emotional or mental crisis in their fellow students and coworkers. There should be clearly established reporting mechanisms for the above, and particular attention paid to protocols for reporting concerns about emotional and mental well-being, ensuring that they comply with the law, but also don’t discourage participation.

Administrators must establish a culture in which staff and students feel free to share information about personal issues that might boil over into a security issue at school, such as threats to an individual, or an unhealthy and degenerating family situation;

2. Increase tactical options for teachers

Many American schools suffer from a limited menu of tactics for dealing with threats. The default position for the majority of schools is to lockdown at the first sign of violent attack, with no other alternative to consider. Using lockdown tactics may be appropriate for a given scenario, but in other circumstances it may increase the danger to staff and students.

Schools should expand their options to include an evacuation option in response to violent attack or other emergencies, because in many circumstances, the best response is to move potential victims away from the threat. It may be appropriate to use lockdown and evacuation tactics simultaneously, with those closest to the threat running lockdown procedures, while those farthest from the threat evacuate.

Law enforcement officers must understand that while fleeing from a threat may seem like an obvious solution to people in our profession, it runs counter to the culture school administrators and teachers are raised in. School professionals work in a culture that demands strict accountability of the students, and requires them to keep their charges within the perimeter of the school grounds to ensure their control and safety. Therefore, asking teachers to consider an evacuation option runs counter to their training, experience and sense of liability. Law enforcement officers can use their experience and training to help these school professionals understand that the tactical requirements of a crisis like an active shooter event may require them to take actions that conflict with ordinary school protocols.

3. Improve teacher and student training

Faculty and students need better training in emergency response. Emergency drills must be executed with greater fidelity and realism for them to be useful, and they must also be discussed and practiced with greater frequency. Staff and students must be trained to adapt to circumstances, and not be preconditioned to blindly execute established plans. Consider the following to improve training:

If preplanned escape paths become unusable due to fire or the presence of an attacker, are students and staff practiced in switching to alternate routes? If preplanned rendezvous or rally points become unusable due to fire, an attacker, or the threat of an improvised explosive device, are students and staff trained to stand up alternate locations if a primary becomes unsuitable? Are students and staff trained to evacuate from locations on campus other than the classroom as a starting point? Do students and staff know how to effectively barricade? Do students and staff know what constitutes effective cover in their environment?

4. Improve emergency communication

What notification tools are used to transmit warnings or communicate vital information about threats in the school? A public address system is an important part of a communication plan, but cannot be the only tool. Social media, geographic area text alerts, and other methods must be part of a comprehensive emergency communication plan. Parents must also be part of the communication loop.

5. Stop bleeding with better training and equipment

Staff and students must receive better training in the basics of hemorrhage control and casualty care, and every classroom, office area and multipurpose room should be stocked with appropriate first aid supplies to deal with a mass casualty incident.

6. Enhance law enforcement coverage on campus

Every school should have a trained law enforcement presence on site when students are present, including during after-school events. School resource officers are an invaluable asset in handling day-to-day behavior issues, medical emergencies, or other routine problems in a school. They also help to establish a good relationship between students and the law enforcement community as a whole.

However, their presence becomes critically important during an active shooter event. Having a school resource officer on duty will help to shorten the response time for law enforcement in an event where time equals lives lost.

7. Arm teachers and staff with firearms

A school resource officer is an important layer of defense, but cannot be the only layer of armed defense in a school. We must allow vetted administrators and teachers to volunteer for training that will certify them to be armed in school, so they can protect themselves and the children in their charge. Consider that a school resource officer:

May have a delayed response if unaware an attack has been launched; May have a delayed response if out of position and required to respond from a far corner of the school; May not be able to catch up to a highly-mobile attacker if slowed by a panicked crowd; May be overwhelmed by a team of attackers and require assistance; May be the first target of a tactically astute attacker, and eliminated from the beginning, leaving the campus without an armed defense.

For these reasons and more, we cannot rely on a school resource officer to carry the full responsibility of neutralizing an attacker. We cannot, in a layered defense model, put all of our faith in a single point of failure.

Armed and trained personnel will not replace a school resource officer or other first responders. They will merely complement these other resources and provide a means for an instantaneous response.

Our administrators and teachers will always be at ground zero during an attack. They will always be present during the opening moments. We need to provide them the means to defend our children for that perilous interval between the time the attack is launched and law enforcement stops the killing.

Current research indicates an average police response time in excess of 5 minutes and this clock only starts after the report is first received, so the attack has probably been ongoing for a period of time before this. We cannot expect our students and our school staffs to wait in excess of 5 minutes, while people are being killed, for law enforcement to show up and handle the situation.

Research also indicates that only 25-30 percent of active shooter events are resolved by law enforcement. In the other events, the shooter has either been subdued by citizens, or has surrendered, fled or committed suicide. We cannot put all of our faith in a solution that has a proven track record of failing to solve the problem three-quarters of the time.

The time has come for law enforcement to advocate for, and participate in, the training of selected volunteers to carry firearms at school. If we’re serious about wanting to save lives, then we can no longer hide from this option. We need to give the potential victims the tools and training necessary to defend themselves while they are waiting for the police to arrive.

In conclusion

We have a lot of work ahead of us if we’re going to improve school safety in America, but we have the knowledge, training, experience, communication skills, mindset and leadership skills necessary to guide our communities to a thoughtful solution.

We owe it our communities to take an active role in this process. Our duty is to serve and protect, and the best way we can do that is to prepare in advance for known threats, and empower our fellow citizens to protect themselves while they’re waiting for assistance to arrive.

Let’s get to work.

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

It has been said, sardonically, that if you can keep your head while all those around you are in a panic, then you may not understand how bad things really are. The loss of 17 innocent lives in Parkland, Florida, has so shaken our citizenry that almost any statement made is attacked as insensitive, short-sighted, or partisan. We humans lose the long view when tragedy is in our face.

Remember: Schools are still safe

On Valentine’s Day, there were about 36,000 high schools with about 40 million students where there was no shooting. Schools continue to be the safest place, statistically, for a child to be. Crime rates overall are still among the lowest in decades in the U.S., with alarming increases in violent crimes attributable to a handful of major urban areas.

As many commentators have pointed out, the inclusion of robberies on or near school grounds, domestic violence, suicide, accidental discharges and after-hours incidents can inflate the perception of danger in our schools.

We also know that sheltering in place is still the safest strategy during a school attack. In a review of fatalities on school property, after eliminating suicides and killings of specific targets resulting from domestic disputes, we can calculate that students are safest behind a locked door with their teachers.

Remember: Mass shootings differ widely

Parkland is now added to the list of the 10 most deadly mass shootings in the U.S. The list, going back to the Texas tower sniper, includes an outdoor concert, a night club, a large university, a McDonald’s restaurant, a clinic, a postal service facility, a church, an elementary school and a restaurant.

Beyond the top 10, there are a few more educational facilities, military facilities, homes and killings that meet the definition by having occurred at multiple locations within a short period of time.

Crafting changes that seem to address our most recent tragedies are not likely to cover all the ingredients of all mass shootings.

Remember: Tactics for today’s tragedy are formed from yesterday’s event

As has often been said about military operations, we’re trained and equipped to fight the last war.

We all know about the post-Columbine transition from perimeter holding to active engagement, but we should also look at the rationale for all our current policy and tactics:

Have we paid attention to lessons learned from drills and false alarms and responses to lesser calls for service to our schools? Can we articulate why we do the tedious room-by-room clearance based on probabilities of an unknown harmer remaining? Do we know why we march students out in an evacuation with hands up rather than allow them to remain protected in their classrooms when a threat is probably over? Must we bus students to multiple locations for reunification? Does our communication plan recognize that the majority of students and parents are making their own plans by text? Do any of our classroom drills involve complex decision making that is not likely to be mentally possible under fire? Are systems in place to react within the 2-5 minutes that most school shootings last? Does it matter that the shooter will likely be a current or former student and know the active shooter protocol?

If we do the same thing long enough without evaluating, we will end up looking foolish for something whose purpose we can’t explain.

Remember: What has shown to be effective in preventing attacks

We should be examining known cases where attacks were prevented or interrupted to find out what strategies worked.

Solutions that involve an armed presence as a deterrent may not work on a killer who fully expects to die during or after attack. What more glorious way to exit than a precipitated suicidal encounter with an armed guard, police officer, or teacher? Do we forget all of the attacks on places already staffed by guardians?

Are effective threat assessment protocols embedded across organizations that may hold key data that is shareable under existing privacy rules? Have best practices been established, proven, and replicated?

Most school shootings are not the mass casualty events that disturb us the most. Students were the target in fewer than half the shootings, with faculty or staff members the target 60% of the time. The motives of mass killers and those with specific targets – resulting in “collateral damage” – defy easy categorization and, therefore, complicate deterrent strategies.

We have also forgotten that there were debates about the role of police officers in schools. Some districts didn’t want officers to be armed. Others wanted officers to be educators with no role in discipline or law enforcement. Have we seen a tendency to park less effective officers at schools as a semi-retirement position? How do we prevent complacency while a guard waits for something that is statistically highly unlikely?

Remember: The Secret Service Study

In 2004, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education published The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States.

The most profound statement in this in-depth study is on page 19 of the report: “There is no accurate or useful "profile" of students who engaged in targeted school violence.”

In addition the study showed “A history of having been the subject of a mental health evaluation, diagnosed with a mental disorder, or involved in substance abuse did not appear to be prevalent among attackers. However, most attackers showed some history of suicidal attempts or thoughts, or a history of feeling extreme depression or desperation. Only one-third of attackers had ever received a mental health evaluation and fewer than one-fifth had been diagnosed with mental health or behavior disorder prior to the attack.”

Claims that most shooters were on medication have not been substantiated. Even if true, the fact that 1 in 6 American adults are taking psychiatric medications precludes any assumptions about their effects on violence. There are more women than men on these medications, but most killers are men. Additionally, we can’t claim that killers are both medicated and that their mental health has been ignored. One assumption precludes the other.

Decisions for the future

Answers won’t come from our emotions. They won’t come from drastic measures that seriously impinge on the civil liberties of the mentally ill, gun owners, or the entertainment industry. The answers will come from facts, and we just don’t have enough of them.

The logical fallacy that because one thing precedes another, the first thing necessarily is the cause of the second thing, must not be the guiding principle for policy change. We can be certain that there is not one cause, or two, or three that create these violent storms.

If the federal government can do one thing, it is to engage researchers to do deep data mining of every thwarted, attempted, interrupted, or successful school attack. The broad categories measured in the currently available studies of these events has not yielded true commonalities that can be addressed in prevention and deterrence strategies. If there is a constellation that can predict these events, we must find it.

Critics will cry that we don’t have time for that kind of research. Indeed, we will face more tragedies, but merely hoping that we can shoot them on the sidewalk before they get to their targets, institutionalize them involuntarily, or keep certain guns out of their hands is simply not immediately possible.

We all know that decisions under the influence of crushing emotion are the least wise, but the demand for some resolution to what seems to be an overwhelming and urgent crisis is on our policy makers and politicians and may result in decisions without the necessary rational perspective. A false sense of security driven by useless answers would be the worst possible outcome.

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By Erin Tiernan and Erin Tiernan The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

QUINCY, Mass. — Police stepped in to help a superhero in need of assistance on Thursday morning.

No, it wasn't Batman down, it was simply a life-sized stuffed replica of the Dark Knight left on a stoop at the corner of Beale Street and Newport Avenue, Sgt. Karyn Barkas said.

"Someone called it in because they thought it was a person having a medical episode or overdosing," she said. The call came in around 9:20 a.m.

The officer was relieved to find the stuffed Batman instead of a person and it gave everyone at the police station a good laugh, Barkas said.

Barkas said the caller did the right thing by calling police, even though it turned out to be Batman.

Passerby calls dispatch and reports a man down at the corner of Beale St & Newport Ave. Officer working detail in area runs to location to see if he can help... #batmandown #truestory #seesomethingsaysomething #thejokerdidit

— Quincy Police (@quincymapolice) February 22, 2018

"We want to stress the fact that this person was doing the right thing and had legitimate concerns. I don't want to discourage anyone from calling us," she said.

It was Quincy Police Department's only run-in with life-sized stuffed toys this week.

On Tuesday police got a visit from Tuck, a four-foot tall stuffed teddy bear, from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

Tuck spent the day hanging out with Sgt. Barkas, where he checked out a self-defense class, helping police take down thieves stealing packages off of a doorstep in Wollaston, hiding from Mace the police dog and waltzing with Capt. Anthony Dibona.

"Quincy Credit Union is promoting child homelessness awareness and they asked if they could bring Tuck over to take some pictures. We thought it was a great idea," Barkas said.

Tuck also checked out the fire department and the council on aging.

©2018 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An off-duty firefighter who happened to be passing by while an officer was struggling with a suspected shooter helped diffuse the situation and take the suspect into custody.

Sacramento Bee reported that the suspect was about to be taken to the hospital to be mentally evaluated when he broke free from the police officer, according to Sacramento Police Department Sgt. Vance Chandler.

The officer began struggling with the suspect, who grabbed hold of the officer’s gun and fired, causing a nearby school to be placed on lockdown.

The firefighter witnessed the incident and helped subdue the suspect, who was then taken into custody.

"We're very fortunate that the passerby came and helped out the officer. We are very fortunate that the officer suffered only minor injuries," Sgt. Chandler said.

The incident is currently under investigation.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By Lisa Marie Paine Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The idea of arming teachers to take out a shooter is alarming some law enforcement experts, who say it takes more than just being a good shot at a gun range.

They say it would require specialized and repeated training to teach educators the proper tactics and enable them to conquer their fear and remain calm and clear-thinking in a fast-moving, life-or-death situation.

"Simply putting a gun on the premises and hoping someone's going to do the right thing with it is baseless," said Chris Grollnek, a former law enforcement officer who specializes in security issues, especially active shooter situations. "All you're doing is signing people up for PTSD."

The idea of arming teachers isn't new. Some schools around the country already allow educators to bring guns onto school grounds.

But the notion is gaining momentum after the shooting rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last week that left 17 students and adults dead. It turned out the only armed officer on duty at the school stayed outside rather than go in to confront the gunman.

President Donald Trump suggested even paying bonuses to teachers willing to be trained to carry firearms at schools.

Still, law enforcement experts note that police are trained for months in the academy and then are put through drills during their careers on such things as making split-second decisions in a crisis and dealing with the mentally ill.

Experts who have spent careers on SWAT teams or other specialized units say it isn't something that comes naturally. It can take not just training but real-life experience in pressure-cooker situations before the instruction takes hold and they're able to respond effectively.

"What an individual officer or a team of officers will do in an active shooter incident calls on every aspect of their overall training and policing. And that's one of the reasons why you'd be hard-pressed to find someone in policing who thinks it's a good idea to arm teachers," said Rick Myers, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

"Teachers' training and expertise has nothing to do with police tactics — shoot-don't-shoot decision making, the psychological trauma that accompanies violence, all the things that are built into what police officers deal with on a daily basis."

Around the country, in places like Ohio and Texas, some schools post warnings that staffers are armed, while others keep potential attackers guessing.

Chris Cerino, a former law enforcement officer, now offers training to educators through his Cerino Consulting and Training Group. The program has taught 1,300 educators over five years. They spend 28 hours learning not just how to fire a gun but such things as ambush tactics, responding under stress, and treating wounds.

Students on occasion have left the class within the first few hours after realizing they're not cut out for it.

Cerino said teachers realize that the usual tactics taught in school — lockdowns and throwing books and other objects at a gunman — are simply "not going to stop a determined killer with a gun. And all that's going to do is delay in the inevitable."

Christopher Albrecht, a fourth-grade teacher from Brockport, New York, and the state's 2018 teacher of the year, said there is already high anxiety in schools with lockdown drills and fears of shooters. He said he is not convinced arming educators is the solution.

"I can't imagine if I had a gun that was visible on me what that would do to anxiety levels. If anything right now, I'm trying to lower anxiety levels in my classroom. I think that would just raise them," he said.

Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, urged every school to first get an armed officer posted before it considers arming teachers. Those officers are highly trained, he said. Also, he said, arming teachers could make it difficult for police rushing to the scene of a shooting to tell who the bad guy is.

"We see one person or six people with weapons drawn in plainclothes — that could go bad in a hurry," Canady said.

The tactics for dealing with active shooters changed after the Columbine High School attack in 1999 in which two students killed 13 people. At the time, it was general practice for law enforcement to wait for a team of officers to assemble before going in to confront a gunman.

Since then, officers have been trained to go in immediately — even if it's a lone officer without backup.

Why the school resource officer stayed outside rather than try to stop the Parkland shooter hasn't been disclosed. But one possible factor, law enforcement experts said, is the limited daily experience those officers have with high-pressure situations.

Is it then unreasonable to expect educators to perform any differently?

"Just being a gun enthusiast doesn't mean you're going to perform well under stress," said John Bostain, a former police officer in Virginia who now travels the country training law enforcement. "You can't just tell people what it's going to feel like. You have to experience it."

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By Sadie Gurman Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A woman close to the man charged with killing 17 people at a Florida high school warned the FBI in chilling detail that he had a growing collection of guns and a temper so uncontrollable she worried about him "getting into a school and just shooting the place up."

The Associated Press on Friday obtained a transcript of the Jan. 5 tip to the FBI's call center. The FBI acknowledged it failed to investigate the tip about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, but the transcript provides the fullest glimpse yet into the seriousness of the woman's concerns.

"I know he's going to explode," she told the call-taker.

The FBI briefed congressional staff Friday about its failure to act on the alarming tip, as well as why it did not delve into a September 2017 YouTube comment posted by a "Nikolas Cruz" that said, "Im going to be a professional school shooter." The FBI linked the January call to the report of the YouTube comment, but an FBI intake specialist and a supervisor at the call center took no further action, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's office said Friday.

Google, which owns YouTube, also briefed congressional staffers.

The tips were among a series of what authorities now describe as the clearest missed warning signs that Cruz, who had a history of disturbing behavior, posed a serious threat. The FBI declined to comment on the transcript, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

During the phone call, which spanned more than 13 minutes, the woman described a teenager prone to anger with the "mental capacity of a 12 to 14 year old" that deteriorated after his mother died last year. She pointed the FBI to several Instagram accounts where Cruz had posted photos of sliced-up animals and rifles and ammunition he apparently purchased with money from his mother's life insurance policy.

"It's alarming to see these pictures and know what he is capable of doing and what could happen," the caller said. "He's thrown out of all these schools because he would pick up a chair and just throw it at somebody, a teacher or a student, because he didn't like the way they were talking to him."

The woman said she called the local police in Parkland, Florida, after Cruz began posting online that he wanted to kill himself. Then, she said, the threat changed to "I want to kill people." She said he had killed animals and once held his mother at rifle-point.

"I just want to, you know, get it off my chest in case something does happen," the woman said. "And I do believe something's going to happen."

The revelation of the FBI's failure to refer the tip to agents in the field who could have investigated comes as the agency is already facing intense political pressure. Lawmakers, including Grassley, immediately sought more information from FBI Director Chris Wray on what went wrong.

Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich told reporters Thursday the bureau is still trying to determine exactly how the tip got botched.

As for the YouTube post, Grassley's office said the FBI opened a counterterrorism lead but closed it less than a month later because agents were unable to identify the person behind it. Google told congressional staff it could have helped, if the FBI had asked last year.

Saturday, February 24, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

School resource officer Scot Peterson resigned from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department and is currently under investigation after it was revealed he did not engage the gunman responsible for the deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on. Feb. 14. During a news conference on Thursday, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he was "devastated, sick to my stomach” over the revelation, adding that the armed SRO should have "went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer."

President Donald Trump also weighed in on the controversy, telling reporters Friday that Peterson was either a "coward" or "didn't react properly under pressure." But who is the ex-officer at the center of mounting questions over law enforcement’s response prior to and during the Valentine’s Day massacre? Here are five things to know about Scot Peterson.

1. Peterson once championed the importance of school officers for security.

Peterson, 54, was a 30-year veteran of the BCSD who had been assigned to the campus since 2009. In 2015, Peterson defended the Resident on Campus Security Program to school officials who questioned its importance, according to the Sun Sentinel.

“We are crime prevention, an audit report will never show how much we prevent,” Peterson said at the time.

He also described an incident he had responded to at Atlantic Technical College as an example of the importance of school security; after an alarm went off in the school’s cafeteria, Peterson reportedly chased down four suspects and arrested them.

2. Peterson had a mostly stellar record.

Peterson was named school resource officer of the year in 2014 and was nominated twice for the award. A supervisor wrote that the officer was "dependable and reliable and handles issues that arise with tact and solid judgment." Performance reports dating back decades contained similar sentiments, calling Peterson a “team player,” “model employee,” and “dedicated.”

But Peterson was also the subject of at least two complaints, one of which was related to the Resident on Campus Security Program. In 1994, he was accused of conduct unbecoming an employee in a charge that was ultimately dropped.

In 2015, he sent an email to school board members that called out the leadership of now-former Broward District School Police Chief Anthony Williams, who oversaw the Resident on Campus Security Program. The BCSD questioned Peterson’s discretion in sending the email and ultimately recommended he undergo counseling.

3. Peterson’s home is currently under guard.

Amid the controversy, Peterson’s home is now under guard by Florida law enforcement. At least six officers have turned away reporters who attempted to visit the ex-SRO’s residence.

4. Peterson believes he did his job.

The president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association said Thursday that Peterson believes he “did a good job” by calling in the location of the mass shooting and giving a description of the shooter, according to the NY Post.

“He believed he did a good job calling in the location, setting up the perimeter and calling in the description,” union official Jim Bell said.

Peterson is reportedly “distraught” over the massacre.

5. Peterson is not the only officer coming under fire over LE’s response to the attack.

CNN reported Friday that some Coral Springs officers are allegedly upset that three Broward County Sheriff's deputies – in addition to Peterson – had not yet entered the building when they arrived on scene.

The Coral Springs PD issued a statement later Friday that said the PD has not yet given an official statement to the media and that “any actions or inactions that negatively affected the response will be investigated thoroughly.” The PD added that “there were countless deputies and officers … whose actions were nothing short of heroic.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Peterson’s inaction, the numerous missed signs of trouble in the gunman’s past, and a reported delay in security camera footage scanned by responding LEOs were an “abject breakdown at all levels.”


While it’s too early for an after-action report on the law enforcement response to last week’s shooting and the potential missteps that occurred, PoliceOne has a wealth of expert training content on active shooter response. Be prepared:

How police can prevent the next Parkland

4 key takeaways from the Fla. high school shooting

Will you take the active shooter pledge?

Active shooters in schools: The enemy is denial

Active shooters in schools: An options-based active-shooter policy for schools

Mistaken assumptions and lessons learned during rescue task force training

Never doubt yourself: A SWAT cop's lesson learned from Columbine

Arming teachers in schools: Why police should be involved in vetting, training

3 simple questions that a police department's after-action report must answer

Friday, February 23, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

WASHINGTON — The Council of State Governments Justice Center has selected four law enforcement agencies to participate in its effort to improve services for people with mental illnesses.

In collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Police Foundation, the CSG selected four LE agencies to participate in the BJA-supported Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Site initiative, according to a CSG press release. The initiative delivers peer-to-peer support learning through a cooperative agreement with the CSG Justice Center.

The four selected agencies are the Madison County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office, Arlington (Mass.) PD, Jackson County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office and the Tucson PD. The agencies will join the six current departments representing a cross-section of model strategies and examples of successful collaborations between LE and mental health agencies.

The sites will provide resources for state and local LE agencies that are developing or enhancing a Police-Mental Health Collaboration, including a Crisis Intervention Team, co-response team, or mobile crisis team.

Agencies will be able to use the learning sites to reduce repeat encounters with LE, reduce arrests and make encounters with officers safer. Each site will answer questions, host site visits and work to develop materials for practitioners and community partners.

Friday, February 23, 2018
Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

By PoliceOne Staff

EATON COUNTY, Mich. — Recently released dash cam footage shows Michigan law enforcement officers fatally shooting a man who drove at them with a pickup truck.

The Lansing State Journal reports that on Nov. 28, an Eaton County detective and deputy were attempting to serve warrants for Robert Claude Smith's arrest and a search of the property when they spotted him fleeing in a truck. Officers pursued Smith, 64, before the suspect drove at two stopped police vehicles.

Smith is seen on video smashing into a patrol vehicle, forcing it into the detective’s vehicle as the deputy fired at the truck. The detective, who was behind his vehicle, was knocked to the ground from the impact of the collision.

The officers fired eight rounds at Smith, who died of a gunshot wound to the head. The suspect was later found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.19 at the time of his death.

Officials said the warrants stemmed from a Nov. 26 arrest for DUI. During that encounter, officers found a gun on Smith, who was not allowed to possess a firearm because he was a convicted felon.

Smith reportedly told officers in the DUI arrest that he "would not be afraid to commit gun violence, and that he had nothing to lose,” according to a news release. Smith did not have a gun when he was fatally shot.

Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said the officers didn’t know whether Smith was armed or not at the time of the shooting.

"They were aware of his very recent possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, and that a search warrant had been issued for his residence to search for additional firearms and ammunition."

A prosecutor reviewed the case earlier this month and found the officers justified in the shooting.

Friday, February 23, 2018
Author: Jim Dudley and Doug Wyllie


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Research from Force Science Institute reveals that in order to get the most accurate and detailed information from officer-involved shootings or other high-intensity events, officers should be allowed a recovery period of at least 48 hours before being interviewed in depth about the incident by IA or criminal investigators. Further, the manner in which the interview should be conducted should not be adversarial or confrontational — instead, a process called the cognitive interview should be used. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss some ways in which police agencies can improve the way cops are treated following a critical incident.