Broward County, Florida Sheriff Scott Israel refuses to resign over his department’s handling of the deadly mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but it is not the first time he’s faced criticism because of his agency’s response to such an event.
Just last year, The Sun Sentinel reported that the Broward Sheriff’s Office admitted to failing to effectively seize control and set up a command center following the deadly shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport.
A 99-page report of the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting, drafted by officials in the department, said that their own agency made mistakes from the start by not taking command of the shooting area at the baggage claim, where the perpetrator killed five people and injured six others.
“During the events, the absence of a clearly defined [incident command] created unnecessary entanglements and unclear responsibilities,” the report revealed.
Additionally, the report showed an antiquated radio system that led to a breakdown in communication among officers on the scene as well as a lack of leadership as the crime was overpopulated with a law enforcement response from all over South Florida, the Sentinel reported. “Their presence, in many cases, obstructed the containment and control of the scene.”
As a result, chaos ensued and the arrival of so many different agencies on the scene confused witnesses and fellow law enforcement.
Witnesses were told to stay in an area where they could see the bodies and the passengers were further horrified by plainclothes officers wearing ski masks running through the terminal with their firearms out.
When SWAT teams came on the scene, no information was given as to where their choppers could land.
Before the 2017 report came out, Israel described his agency’s response to The Sentinel in an interview in April 2017, saying, “Everything was done excellently,” and adding that the situation was more like “controlled chaos.” The response is similar to Israel’s defense of his own present performance following the Parkland shooting, stating he has given “amazing leadership.”