Parkland School Shooting Commission Recommends Rifles, Better Training for SROs

The commission investigating the Parkland school shooting unanimously approved a tough final report Wednesday that recommends better training and armament for school officers and the arming of some teachers.

The 458-page report by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission addresses the cascade of errors revealed in the wake of the shooting, including fumbled tips, lax school security policies and unaggressive sheriff’s deputies who hung back as shots were fired. The report now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, DeSantis and Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

The report contains dozens of recommendations. Some would require action by the governor and Legislature, such as the proposals to allow some teachers to carry guns and increase spending on school security. It also calls for laws to be changed to allow school districts to raise taxes for security improvements and to require rather than simply permit mental health providers to notify law enforcement if a patient threatens anyone with harm. Many of the proposals were inspired by errors and weak spots that came to light after the Feb . 14 shooting that took 17 lives.

Here are the recommendations from the report that cover law enforcement response, according to the Sun Sentinel.

School Officers

Recommendation: School resource officers, law enforcement officers provided by the sheriff’s office or city police departments, should be more closely supervised. Their primary responsibility should be safety and security, not teaching or counseling.

Status: The Broward Sheriff’s Office has transferred them from Community Services to Special Operations to place more emphasis on school security and tactical responses.

Recommendation: All school resource officers should be issued rifles and bulletproof vests, with these items readily available on campus.

Status: Varies statewide. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says it has equipped all deputies with carbines, a type of small rifle. All uniformed officers are now required to wear bulletproof vests.

Recommendation: School deputies should have “frequent, thorough and realistic training to handle high-risk, high stress situations, especially single-officer response training.”

Status: The Broward Sheriff’s Office said all school deputies have attended a week of training for active-shooter and other tactical situations since the shooting, as well as the use of their new carbines.

Recommendation: The state Legislature should increase funding for school resource officers and guardians, give school districts more flexibility in spending money for security and allow districts to raise taxes by up to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value without a referendum to pay for law enforcement officers, guardians or other security expenses.

Status: Would require action by the state Legislature

Broward Sheriff’s Office

Recommendation: The Broward Sheriff’s Office should conduct an internal review of seven deputies who arrived during the shooting but appeared to fail to even attempt to take effective action.

Status: Internal investigations have been opened into two deputies, and the sheriff’s office has said it would consider further reviews based on the report.

Recommendation: BSO should revise its active-shooter policy to make clear that deputies are expected to immediately seek out the shooter.

Status: BSO has changed its policy to require that deputies confront the shooter, rather than leaving it to their discretion.

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