Officers Who Rushed to Parkland Shooting Were Punished

Their 'intentions were brave and heroic,' says union president
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2018 7:50 AM CST
SWAT Officers Rushed to Parkland, Were Suspended for It
Police watch the entrance of a parking lot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Fla.   (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Two SWAT officers who dropped everything to respond to the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting in Florida have been punished as a result. Miramar Police Department's SWAT team was placed on stand-by in the chaos of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in case it was needed to assist the Broward County Sheriff's Office. As the Sheriff's Office had its own SWAT team on the move, the Miramar team ultimately wasn't needed, per the Miami Herald. But detectives Jeffrey Gilbert and Carl Schlosser, who were near the school at the time, responded anyway, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. A memo sent to the officers a week later says they acted "without the knowledge or authorization from your chain of command" and created an "officer safety situation due to dispatch not knowing your location or activity."

Too many officers on scene can create confusion and block access for other first responders, a former detective tells the Herald. But even if it was "a violation of policy to not notify their supervisors that they were going there," the officers' "intentions were brave and heroic," says their union president. While the officers remain on active duty, they were suspended from the SWAT program and ordered to surrender their SWAT-issued rifles, per the Sun Sentinel. The Herald describes the suspension as temporary. A third SWAT officer, Kevin Gonzalez, suffered the same punishment over accusations of involvement in social media posts about the shooting that reflected negatively on police and the city. The posts reportedly questioned why Miramar's SWAT team wasn't dispatched and may have been written by Gonzalez's girlfriend, per the Herald. (Read more Parkland school shooting stories.)

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