Training Materials Say First Officers on Scene should ‘Confront the Shooter’

‘Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.’; Four Officers on Scene at February 14 Parkland Shooting Did Not Enter School Building

Broward County Sheriff’s Office Training Materials Say First One or Two Officers on Scene should ‘Confront the Shooter’
Broward County Sheriff’s Office Training Materials Say First One or Two Officers on Scene should ‘Confront the Shooter’

Washington, DC-( Judicial Watch today released Broward County Sheriff’s Office training and operation materials that specifically dictate that the first one or two officers on the scene of an active shooter incident “will immediately go to confront the shooter.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office’s Standard Operating Procedure and lesson plans for an active shooter incident were obtained by Judicial Watch via a Florida Sunshine Act records request.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that armed school resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson was first on the scene of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but he did not enter the school to confront shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Three other deputies also arrived on the scene but did not enter, the sheriff’s office said. The Broward County materials direct that if four officers are on the scene of an active shooter incident they are to form a “Quad” formation and enter the building.

The lesson plan instructs officers to immediately confront a shooter:

History shows when a suspect is confronted by any armed individual (police, security, concealed carry person) they either shoot it out with that person or kill themselves. Either way, the shooting of innocent bystanders must stop. Now, the first officer or two officers on scene will immediately go to confront the shooter. Military tactics work well in this situation. The two man “bounding overwatch” is our response.

Using lessons learned from Columbine (the 1999 high school massacre where officers waited for a SWAT team and allowed two shooters to continue) the first four responding officers are directed to form a “Quad” and approach from all directions:

During Columbine, the response to an ongoing shooting situation was to contain the suspect. After Columbine the International Chiefs of Police addressed the problem with the response and came up with the “Quad” or diamond formation. With the quad, the first four officers to respond entered the building with coverage in all directions. This was critical to address the concerns of officers who previously would not enter and just wait for SWAT.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said during a news conference that “What I saw was a deputy [Peterson] arrive … take up a position and he never went in.” Israel said Peterson should have “went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”

The lesson plan clearly states: “If you are on scene or in the area and hear gunshots, you should immediately access what you have and prepare to respond. Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.”

The training materials also state that the first officers on the scene will “engage the suspect,” which Peterson did not do. “There are now three teams during Active Shooter Incident [Contact, Extraction and Rescue Task Force]: Contact Team: Is first on scene, 1-4 deputies, they will be actively engaging/searching for suspect (HOT ZONE).”

The lesson plan lists “priorities of life” as: 1) Hostages/victims; 2) Innocent Bystanders; 3) Police/deputies; and 4) Suspects. “If in doubt about going through the door after a suspect, think about the victims and where they stand on the list.”

The importance of a fast and effective response is emphasized: “Time is critical in each of these incidents. This is like no other crime. The motive is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Why? Because the bad guy knows ‘we’ are coming.”

An exercise designed for a lone deputy on the scene of an active shooting is intended to “get the deputy moving towards the gunfire, passing dead students and others running by him.” However, “there is no reason to give up a good position of cover” if the shooting has stopped. “Remember the cavalry is on their way, so it’s better to hold, than to expose yourself to unknown threats.”

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office Standard Operating Procedure states: “If real time intelligence exists the sole deputy or a team of deputies may enter the area and/or structure to preserve life. A supervisor’s approval or on-site observation is not required for this decision…. If the situation turns to a barricade or hostage situation the response team will contain, isolate, communicate and wait for SWAT.”

Records obtained by Judicial Watch also show that Sheriff Israel is the second highest paid of Florida’s 67 sheriffs at $186,631 for Fiscal Year 2017/18. The sheriff was eligible for $2,000 in supplemental pay for completion of a 20-hour training course. In 2016, Israel received a warning letter that he had not successfully completed the course and his supplemental pay was being withheld.

“These Broward County Sheriff’s Office documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the law enforcement agency failed the victims of the Parkland shooting victims,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Lives were lost in Parkland because the Sheriff’s Office personnel were either poorly trained or failed to follow training protocols.”

About Judicial WatchJudicial Watch

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.

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Edward Weber

Mr. Coward Poppin Fresh is a disgrace to humanity. How in the world can he live with himself after hearing all of those kids getting murdered?


He is , probably, hiding out in order to keep someone from beating his sorry a$$.


Still not sure guys and gals … policy and training plans are all nice to have in a book on the shelf, but what was the reality on the ground and in the field? Was this “training” ever implemented? Was there a back-channel order to stand by? Was this a public-face policy that was never treated seriously? The Sheriff’s statements and behavior call his credibility into much question. On a personal note I’d like to believe that I would have behaved differently, charging into the fray so to speak, so I hold no sympathy for those who would not. Maybe… Read more »


“Capt. Jan Jordan, commander of BSO’s Parkland district, gave the order, the log shows, identifying her by her police call sign.”

“Peterson warned his fellow officers to stay away — even as wounded students and staff lay inside.”


Cartoon character Deputy Dog had more courage in his tail then this COWARD Deputy.
I’m not saying to run in and start shooing a pistol as some gunman, go in, radio info to base,
if the moment comes to take him or her out, DO IT. he had at least 45 rounds of pistol ammo.


Core, your right, I’ve gone up against A** H**Ls and all I had was a 357 mag. revolver, to stop the threat and did so with pride all though I new what the results could be. I’m only 5′ 8″ I can’t lift 250 lbs. I can’t run 2 miles, but I got GUTS enough to do what I was hired to do, protect the people I was supposed to.

Wild Bill

@Dwight, Yes, courage and aggressive action are the things that overcome a lot of other things. And thank you for your service.


Why do we even have police? What are we paying for?

Wild Bill

@Jeff’n, I think the police went in immediately. I believe it was the County Sheriff’s deputy that hesitated. But more to your implied point, democrats have been trying to water down law enforcement agencies for decades and turn them into jobs programs. There should be a minimum 6’1′ height requirement, a bench press 250 lbs requirement, a two mile run requirement, a shooting requirement, an education requirement, P.O.S.T. requirement and an IQ test requirement.


These cops?? were better ARMED than the teachers & students and they should have done what they were HIRED to do PROTECT THE PEOPLE not to be COWARDS as the are.


This became SOP after Virginia Tech, but most LE orgs still do not follow it. It is the ONLY way to stop the shooter short of having armed teachers.

Sam Smith

These officers failed to do there sworn duty! Training and experience trump equipment.


Pud pulling donut munching fat ass COWARD


Let me make this very clear these officers did nothing wrong! No one in their right mind confronts an active shooter with a rifle when they are armed with only a pistol. This was not a television show, this was real life. Being properly armed and having adequate protective gear would change the situation. The Failure was with the school administration, local sheriff and the FBI, all fail to do their jobs creating this situation.

Wild Bill

@Bart, all combat is “come as you are”. But I will grant you this: There is a lot involved that only the first armed person on the scene will understand, and that we will never know. It is difficult, at best, to second guess the first on the scene. I just wish he would have addressed the problem before him a little differently.


Unfortunately, if you are an officer armed only with a pistol, it’s your responsibility to stop the active shooter. Regardless, it’s your sworn oath to protect and serve, it’s more than a paycheck. After the cascade failure of the FBI, State CPS, County Sheriff, School, Family, and at least several First Responders, there needs to be more clarification in the process and protocols. The officers need a capable weapon when they are responding to school incidents, and they should have a reasonable degree of training, and the guts to get in there and neutralize the threat. It’s not difficult to… Read more »


Bart, it’s called intestinal fortitude. If I called a time out and ran to the bunker to put full gear on every engagement. Then i would have rightfully earned the title coward and promptly relieved. He is paid three times what i got to do a job once that i did daily. I give him no quater.

Robert Rixford

As in any ‘combat’ situation, it falls on the ‘foot soldiers’ (in this case, the SO Deputies) to pull the brass’ ass (FBI, Sheriff, and school administration) out of the fire when they screw up. I doubt there was any place inside the school (where the shots were being fired) where the range was so great that a rifle’s added reach was a significant factor. Since both the SO handguns and the shooter’s rifle(s?) were semi-automatic, the rate of fire would have been similar. However, it is likely that both the magazine capacity and the penetrating power of any rifles… Read more »


Yellow belly-as Gen Patton would say.

Andy Buckmichael

These are cops. Marginal high school or GED graduates at best. You can not train people like that.



Marc Disabled Vet