A few points need to be emphasized for those unfamiliar with the Broward County system. First, with revelations of frequent LEO contact and calls from people warning about school shooter Nikolas Cruz, there’s a common narrative mistakenly being pushed by mainstream media.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) didn’t “miss warning signs” or make “mistakes” in not writing up reports. The Sheriff’s office did exactly what their internal policies, procedures and official training required them to do, they intentionally ignored the signs, and intentionally didn’t generate documents. Example:
Miami Herald […] In November, a tipster called BSO to say Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making” but deputies did not write up a report on that warning. It came just weeks after a relative called urging BSO to seize his weapons. Two years ago, according to a newly released timeline of interactions with Cruz’s family, a deputy investigated a report that Cruz “planned to shoot up the school” — intelligence that was forwarded to the school’s resource officer, with no apparent result. (read more)
It is important to understand the policy here. Broward County law enforcement (Sheriff Israel), in conjunction with Broward County School Officials (Superintendent Runcie and School Board), have a standing policy to ignore any criminal engagement with High School students.
When the police are hiding current, actual and ongoing unlawful conduct as a matter of standard procedure on a regular basis, what do we expect the police would do with reports of potential unlawful conduct? Of course they would ignore them.
You can read a twitter thread on the multi-year-long enterprise HERE
This is not a “mistake” on their part, the ‘doing nothing’ is part of the standard practice.
♦ Secondly, the 27 minute tape-delay in the CCTV system is not an “accident”, “flaw” or “mistake”. It is entirely by design.
As a standard Broward and Miami-Dade practice, when school law enforcement need to cover-up or hide behavior, they need time (when that behavior happens) to delete the evidence trail. As such the school policy -as carried out in practice- is more efficient with a 30 minute tape delay affording the school officer enough time to deal with the situation, then erase the possibility of a recording of the unlawful activity surfacing.
Building in a 30 minute delay on the CCTV system was one of those pesky add-on items that happened a few years ago when the School and Law Enforcement officials established the policy of intentionally not arresting students.
With modern technology it’s tough to hide criminal behavior, especially the violent stuff, when it is being recorded. Duh. Ergo the tape-delay was the best-practice workaround.
Lastly, when the county education policy is intentionally constructed to ignore criminal behavior in schools, the Sheriff and School superintendent cannot rely on “law-and-order-minded” school police officers to carry out the heavily nuanced policy. The county officials need the people closest to the work, the officers, to be able to think quickly on their feet to safeguard their prized district-wide statistics.
2013 – Broward announced broad changes designed to mitigate the use of harsh punishments for minor misbehavior at the beginning of this school year. While other districts have amended their discipline codes, prohibited arrests in some circumstances, and developed alternatives to suspension, Broward was able to do all these things at once with the cooperation of a group that included a member of the local NAACP, a school board member, a public defender, a local sheriff, a state prosecutor, and several others. In early November, The Miami Herald reported that suspensions were already down 40 percent and arrests were down 66 percent. (2013 article link)
A Broward County SRO must carry a political hat and be able to intercept behavior, modify his/her action based on a specific policy need, falsify documents, hide evidence, manipulate records and engage inside the system with an understanding of the unwritten goals.
Broward County school law enforcement are given political instructions, and carrying out political objectives. They are not given law-enforcement instructions.
The school officers are the primary foot soldiers carrying out county political policy. Physical security of school students is not their role, they don’t have time for that. The Broward County SRO is in place to protect the school system “policy” and ensure students are not arrested for criminal conduct.
If you begin reviewing the downstream consequences with a correct understanding of the originating policy objectives then everything begins to make sense. Again, from the Miami Herald:
[…] on Nov. 30, an unidentified caller from Massachusetts called to say Cruz was collecting guns and knives. The caller said “Cruz will kill himself one day and believes he could be a school shooter in the making.”
BSO, however, never even wrote a report on the tip. Internal affairs detectives are now trying to figure out what happened. Deputies Edward Eason and Guntis Treijs are on restricted duty while detectives examine their handling of the two potential school shooter tips. After the shooting, the tipster was re-interviewed and said BSO told him to report Cruz to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s, as the teen was then living in the neighboring county. (read more)
Of course the Broward County Sheriff’s Office didn’t write a report. Writing a report would not be in line with the goals of hiding student criminal behavior.
Additionally, it seems odd to see the Miami Herald reporting on Nikolas Cruz in 2018; when the same editorial staff conspicuously avoided any aspects of Trayvon Martin’s student criminal behavior in 2012 and 2013. I wonder why there’s such a difference now?
[School Police Officer Scot] Peterson is mentioned as part of a 2016 social services agency investigation into Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman. According to a Florida Department of Children and Families report detailing that investigation, Peterson was approached by investigators and “refused to share any information … regarding [an] incident that took place with” the teenager.
That same year, the sheriff’s office revealed Thursday, it was told about “third hand information” from a “neighbor’s son” suggesting that Cruz “planned to shoot up the school,” although the specific school was not listed. The sheriff’s office said a deputy contacted the caller, determined that Cruz had knives and a BB gun and sent the information to the school resource officer — presumably Peterson. It is unclear whether he investigated. (Washington Post Link)
▪ Feb. 5, 2016: A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is told by an anonymous caller that Nikolas Cruz, then 17, had threatened on Instagram to shoot up his school and posted a photo of himself with guns. The information is forwarded to BSO Deputy Scot Peterson, a school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
▪ Sept. 23, 2016: A “peer counselor” reports to Peterson that Cruz had possibly ingested gasoline in a suicide attempt, was cutting himself and wanted to buy a gun. A mental health counselor advises against involuntarily committing Cruz. The high school says it will conduct a threat assessment.
▪ Sept. 28, 2016: An investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families rules Cruz is stable, despite “fresh cuts” on his arms. His mother, Lynda Cruz, says in the past he wrote a racial slur against African Americans on his book bag and had recently talked of buying firearms.
▪ Sept. 24, 2017: A YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” posts a comment stating he wants to become a “professional school shooter.” The comment is reported to the FBI in Mississippi, which fails to make the connection to Cruz in South Florida.
▪ Nov. 1, 2017: Katherine Blaine, Lynda Cruz’s cousin, calls BSO to report that Nikolas Cruz had weapons and asks that police recover them. A “close family friend” agrees to take the firearms, according to BSO.
▪ Nov. 29, 2017: The Palm Beach County family that took in Cruz after the death of his mother calls the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to report a fight between him and their son, 22. A member of the family says that Cruz had threatened to “get his gun and come back” and that he has “put the gun to others’ heads in the past.” The family does not want him arrested once he calms down.
▪ Nov. 30, 2017: A caller from Massachusetts calls BSO to report that Cruz is collecting guns and knives and could be a “school shooter in the making.” A BSO deputy advises the caller to contact the Palm Beach sheriff.
▪ Jan. 5, 2018: A caller to the FBI’s tip line reports that Cruz has “a desire to kill people” and could potentially conduct a school shooting. The information is never passed on to the FBI’s office in Miami.
▪ Feb. 14, 2018: Nikolas Cruz attacks Stoneman Douglas High. Peterson, the school’s resource officer, Scot Peterson, draws his gun outside the building where Cruz is shooting students and staff. He does not enter.