Two Miramar police officers were suspended from their SWAT assignments after they immediately stopped their training in Coral Springs, Florida and rushed to Parkland to get to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to help with the response. The problem? They did so without orders.
The Miami Herald reported,
As word spread that an armed attacker was shooting up a Parkland high school, two members of the Miramar Police Department’s SWAT team responded to the scene.
They had been training in nearby Coral Springs earlier that day and wanted to help end a deadly mass shooting that claimed 17 lives.
But their own commander said he didn’t know they were going. And the Broward Sheriff’s Office — worried about over-crowding a chaotic scene with law enforcement officers — didn’t ask for them to show up. BSO already had its own SWAT team in motion.
Eight days after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the two Miramar officers, Det. Jeffery Gilbert and Det. Carl Schlosser, were temporarily suspended from duty with the SWAT team. They remain on active duty with the department, according to a Miramar police spokeswoman.
So why would Miramar have a problem with these officers responding? The main issue wasn’t that they responded, but that they didn’t tell anyone they were responding.
One issue is officer safety – officers must always check in with their departments as to their status and location. It appears these officers failed to do that. However, the response of the Broward County deputies who were told to “stage” instead of enter the building to help the victims is a glaring problem.
Detectives Gilbert and Schlosser were willing to drop everything and go to assist in stopping the carnage.
“While it may have been a violation of policy to not notify their supervisors that they were going there, their intentions were brave and heroic, I think.” President Jeff Marano, Broward County Police Benevolent Association (PBA)
Another issue is lack of orders. When too many police officers rush to a scene, chaos can ensue and the response can get muddled. According to Blue Lives Matter, nearly 2,000 officers responded to the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting in 2017, which created a massive problem. Broward County did not request any help from Miramar SWAT.
Another Miramar officer, Kenneth Gonzalez, was also suspended for connection to social media posts (possibly made by his girlfriend) that criticized the Miramar police reponse.