Amid Criticism for Parkland Shooting Response, Florida County Police Captain Resigns
By Nicholas Nehamas
Jan Jordan, the Broward Sheriff's Office captain who was criticized as "ineffective" for her handling of the police response to the Parkland school shooting, has resigned -- and one of her former subordinates, Sgt. Brian Miller, has been placed on restricted duty, BSO said in a statement Tuesday.
Jordan told Sheriff Scott Israel Monday night that she would resign, according to BSO. She wrote in her separation form she was resigning for "personal reasons."
On Feb. 14, Jordan, the Parkland district commander, initially took charge of the scene after former student Nikolas Cruz attacked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a high-powered rifle. She arrived within seven minutes of Cruz firing his first shots.
But she did not urge deputies to go into the freshman building where Cruz killed 17 students and staff, instead focusing her attention on setting up a perimeter. That left victims bleeding out, including one, Stoneman Douglas Athletic Director Chris Hixon, who was still alive when police entered the building several minutes later. Hixon died on his way to the hospital.
Other law enforcement commanders on the scene described Jordan as speaking as if she were in a "dream-like" state and not being focused on finding the shooter, according to interviews they gave to state investigators. Radio problems hindered Jordan and her deputies from communicating.
"Listen, Jan Jordan was overwhelmed. She was overwhelmed," said Coconut Creek Police Department Deputy Chief Gregory Lees. "I could see it. I tried to help her."
The performance of Jordan and other first responders was discussed in detail last week at public meetings of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. The commission was established to make recommendations about school safety. Israel testified before the commission but did not acknowledge that his deputies made mistakes, with the exception of the widely vilified former school resource officer Scot Peterson.
"If we find out that one or more deputies chose a path of inaction, they will be disciplined, and they will be disciplined swiftly," Israel told commissioners last week. "I absolutely look forward to reading the (commission's) report."
Jordan, a veteran with 25 years of law enforcement experience, was removed as Parkland commander after the shooting at the city's request. She did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Miller, a sergeant assigned to the Parkland district, was told Tuesday he was being placed on "restricted administrative assignment," according to a memo released by BSO. His status is pending the outcome of an internal review of his conduct the day of the shooting.
Miller arrived even earlier than Jordan but did not take charge of the scene, according to evidence presented to the commission by investigators.
"He sat up on Holmberg Road for 10 minutes," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's chairman. "He heard gunshots and he didn't move. He never got on the radio. ... He didn't act."
Miller could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Six other deputies also heard gunshots but did not enter the freshman building. Several were reported to have taken cover while Coral Springs officers ran into the building. BSO made no announcement Tuesday as to the status of those other deputies.
While on restricted duty, Miller must surrender his badge and gun, according to the memo. He is also not allowed to drive any BSO vehicles.
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