While a major Florida law enforcement agency faces widespread criticism for its officers’ response to a deadly school shooting in Parkland earlier this month, one Texas sheriff is making it clear what he expects of his deputies in such a situation.
Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree released a statement this week in a tweet accompanied by a direct message to those who might be concerned about the department’s response in light of recent news.
“Just in case you were wondering,” the post reads. “There is NO DOUBT where we stand. Denton County Sheriff’s Office, BUILT ON INTEGRITY!”
Murphree’s message comes as his counterpart in Broward County, Florida, is facing numerous calls for his resignation following a massacre on Feb. 14 that left 17 students and faculty members dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Sheriff Scott Israel is under pressure from dozens of state lawmakers and others who believe his agency dropped the ball at numerous points leading up to and during the shooting.
Not only are deputies accused of failing to adequately gauge the threat posed by the suspected gunman over years of documented complaints, those who responded to the school on the day of the shooting were criticized over reports that they waited outside until another agency arrived.
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran wrote a letter, signed by 73 other Republican legislators, calling on Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Israel “for incompetence and neglect of duty.”
The FBI has also apologized for its apparent inaction following multiple reports of suspicious behavior by suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz.
In Denton County, Murphree clarified in his recent memo that deputies are expected to waste no time in attempting to help possible victims during a similar call.
“With the recent tragedy in Florida, I wanted to make clear my policy on responding to an active shooter,” he wrote. “All commissioned Deputies if you respond to an active shooter you are expected to take immediate action.”
The sheriff went on to broadly describe what that action should entail.
“We do not stage and wait for SWAT, we do not take cover in a parking lot, and we do not wait for another agency,” he wrote. “We go in and do out duty. We go in to engage and stop the shooter and save lives.”
He concluded with some instruction for anyone in the agency unwilling to make such a commitment.
“If for any reason you feel you can not follow this directive please inform your supervisor and we will work to get you re-assigned.”
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