Brynn Anderson/AP Photo, File

Florida sheriff makes changes after Parkland school shooting

December 29, 2018 - 11:36 pm
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The sheriff of a Florida county where a gunman killed 17 students and staff at a high school has outlined steps his agency has taken in response to the Feb. 14 massacre.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel sent a letter Wednesday to the state commission investigating the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, according to a South Florida Sun Sentinel report.

Israel said all deputies completed an additional eight hours of active-shooter training, and all school deputies attended a week of similar training and received carbines to give them more firepower.

The sheriff's office also created a Threat Assessment Unit, headed by a former New York Police Department inspector, and an internal committee that will address the commission's ultimate findings and recommendations.

"Be assured, the reforms adopted to date are not the end of this process," Israel wrote. "Rather, they are a midway point as we continue working towards addressing all of the findings related to our agency and implementing all of the Commission's recommendations."

The sheriff's office also changed written policy to mandate that deputies have to try to confront active shooters; the previous wording only said deputies "may" intervene in such situations.

In an interview with the newspaper, Israel said he was willing to make necessary changes, but he also deflected blame for the deaths and injuries to 17 additional people in the school.

"I'm certainly responsible for everything that goes on at the agency, good or bad," Israel said. "But as I've said before, the only person responsible for the deaths of those individuals and shooting 17 other people is the killer."

Families of victims have called on Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Israel before leaving office Jan. 8.

Israel, whose elected term is up in 2020, said he would not leave office voluntarily.

"I've done nothing wrong," he said. "I'm not considering resigning or anything like that. I will remain the sheriff as long as the people of Broward County want me."

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