The Latest: Florida sheriff wants school police department
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on developments related to the school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida (all times local):
The Broward Sheriff’s Office has told the commission investigating the Florida school massacre that it thinks the county’s school district should start its own police department.
Maj. Nichole Anderson told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Commission on Friday that her office believes Broward County would be better served if the school district formed its own police force. She said similar arrangements work well in the neighboring counties of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.
In Broward, the sheriff’s office and several municipal police departments provide officers, each following different procedures. Anderson says having one county school police department would create uniform policies and funding.
Broward Deputy Scot Peterson was assigned to Stoneman Douglas when the Feb. 14 massacre happened. He retired after being criticized for not rushing into the building where the shootings happened. Seventeen died. He says he did all he could.
A judge will review a 12-hour video interview between Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz and detectives before deciding which parts can be publicly released.
Prosecutors told Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer at a hearing Friday that the interview includes a confession to the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz’s lawyers say those portions should not be released and other segments might inflame a community already traumatized by the crime.
The interview began in the hours after the shooting. Attorneys for The Associated Press and other media organizations argued that some parts could be blocked from release, but as much as possible should be made public.
The 19-year-old Cruz faces 17 counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty. His lawyers say he will plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence.
Two sheriffs on the commission investigating the Florida school massacre said it is unrealistic to believe there will be armed officers or guards assigned to all state schools this fall.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Safety Commission on Friday that he doesn’t have enough qualified applicants for the 100 additional deputies he’d need to hire. He said it’s a common problem.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is the commission’s chairman. He says school districts are struggling to pay their share of the hiring. The Florida legislature has required in response to the shooting that each public elementary, middle and high school have at least one armed guard. That could be a police officer, a trained staff member or a trained civilian.
The commission’s 15 members will report their findings on what led to the attack to Gov. Rick Scott by Jan. 1. The commission also will make recommendations for preventing future shootings.
Parkland’s city manager is asking the Broward Sheriff’s Office to replace the commander who led the agency’s response to a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In a statement, Bob Payton said he asked Sheriff Scott Israel to provide three recommendations to fill the position of Capt. Jan Jordan. The city would like for the replacement to hold the rank of major.
Scot Peterson, the school resource officer who has come under criticism for his response to the Feb. 14 shooting, was under Jordan’s command.
A news release says Parkland has hired a private firm to evaluate its contract with the sheriff’s office for law enforcement services, as well as issues that include how 911 calls are handled. The 911 system complicated the response to the shooting because calls from inside the school were routed to nearby Coral Springs, instead of the sheriff’s office.
A commission investigating the Florida school massacre will discuss the qualifications of on-campus police officers and what role they should play in student safety.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Public Safety Commission’s discussion Friday will be through the lens of whether former Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson could have prevented some of the 17 deaths that happened Feb. 14. Peterson stayed out of the building where the slayings happened, saying he couldn’t pinpoint the gunshots. Critics have called him a coward, saying he didn’t want to confront the shooter.
The commission’s 15 members include law enforcement officers, educators and parents of slain students.
They will report to Gov. Rick Scott by Jan. 1 their findings on what led to the attack. The commission also will make recommendations for preventing future shootings.
A judge is holding a hearing on an effort by attorneys for Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz to block public release of parts of what police call his confession in the Valentine’s Day massacre.
The hearing Friday concerns a motion claiming that parts of the statement “will cause significant trauma to an already beleaguered community” rocked by the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The motion also says that releasing the statement would violate Cruz’s constitutional rights to a fair trial and against self-incrimination.
The 19-year-old Cruz is charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder. His lawyers say he will plead guilty in exchange for a life prison sentence but prosecutors have refused to waive the death penalty.