A Texas sheriff has told his deputies that it’s their job to confront criminals, and that if they do not think they’re able to do so they will be reassigned.
Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree published a letter sent to all deputies on Facebook.
“With the recent tragedy in Florida, I wanted to make clear my policy on responding to an active shooter. All commissioned deputies, if you respond to an active shooter you are expected to take immediate action. 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,” Murphree wrote.
“We go in an do our duty. We go in to engage and stop the shooter and save lives. If for any reason you feel you can not follow this directive please inform your supervisor and we will work to get you reassigned.”
The letter came after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida.
Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, leaving 17 dead and 16 wounded.
However, it later emerged that the school resource officer, a Broward County Sheriff’s deputy, and three other deputies stood outside for around four minutes before officers from nearby Coral Springs arrived and entered the building to look for the shooter.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that the actions didn’t reflect on his leadership. The sheriff’s office could be sued over the failure of the deputies to enter the school.
President Donald Trump revealed his thoughts on the way deputies at the school handled the situation.
“I got to watch some deputy sheriffs performing this weekend,” Trump said, adding “they weren’t exactly medal of honor winners. The way they performed was, frankly, disgusting.”
The resource officer was suspended, then resigned shortly after.
The officer, however, released a statement through his lawyer saying he wasn’t a “coward.”
“Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the seventeen victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need,” the lawyer, Joseph DiRuzzo III, said.
“However, the allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue. Mr. Peterson is confident that his actions on that day were appropriate under the circumstances and that the video (together with the eye-witness testimony of those on the scene) will exonerate him of any sub-par performance.”