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2 SWAT team members suspended for running toward Parkland massacre

Linda Trischitta, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

The afternoon of the shooting, Miramar police placed the SWAT team on stand-by in case a request came from the Broward Sheriff's Office to assist. That call for the team trained in military tactics never came, Rues said.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said Wednesday it could not confirm whether anyone spoke with Miramar that day, but said Miramar's SWAT team was "not needed" during the incident.

Miramar Police sent a victim's advocate to help console victims' families and officers to help direct traffic, Rues said.

The instinct to run toward danger is a common one in police officers, seen often during terrorist attacks and mass shootings. During the Jan. 6, 2017, fatal shootings of five people, when six other travelers were wounded at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, more than 2,000 cops responded to the original report of gunfire and false reports of additional shots fired, according to a report by the Broward Sheriff's Office.

"Police officers have an inherent bias for action, and the minute they hear there's a violent incident underway their immediate inclination is to go to it and try to stop the violence that is occurring," Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based police research organization, told the Sun Sentinel last June. "And we want that in police officers. The problem is being able to channel that."

But police response plans around the country have been changed to avoid having cops swarm to scenes. A crowd of arriving law enforcement can jam roads that ambulances need to use, overwhelm radios and in general, add to the confusion of the police response.

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Lessons learned from the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting "clearly demonstrate that a controlled, organized response is what is most effective," Rues said.

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