Three years later, there are still emergency dispatch issues in Broward County.
This topic dominated discussion Tuesday at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Committee meeting in Sunrise. The police response to the mass shootings was slower than it should have been, and the Commission told Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry that there were several factors at play , and one of them has not been fixed.
“Communication has been one of those failures and you admit it, you all own it, so if I had a question it would be how many more people have to die before you and the other adults get into a piece and solve this? Commission member Rick Swearingen told Henry during his testimony.
For example, if you call 911 on your cell phone in Parkland, the call goes to the Coral Springs Police Department, who then need to transfer the call to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, creating a delay.
“This is one of the problems, the reason why I moved from Broward, I lost a loved one here and I am not going to lose another,” said Ryan Petty, a member of the Commission who lost his daughter in the tragedy. “Until this is resolved, the citizens of Broward County are in danger.”
As Henry explained, the towns of Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and Plantation are on a separate 911 dispatch system.
“It’s not perfect, the perfect solution is that we are all under the same system, if the city chooses to remain independent which is obviously its choice, if it chooses to remain independent then we are committed to helping them find a way in such a way the community is protected, ”said Henry.
From the county government, the Commission turned to Broward County public schools when Acting Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright stepped onto the podium. Members of the commission told him that the district lacks urgency to close security loopholes.
“This district needs to understand that this is the zero point, this is where it happened and this district needs to show leadership and set an example for others, this district should not continue to be the target of the problem, ”said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. of Pinellas County, the Chairman of the Commission.
“And I want Broward to be that gold standard, that district that other districts look to,” Cartwright replied.
In this case, the first task, according to Sheriff Broward Gregory Tony, is to allow BSO to have access to the upgrade of about 500 school cameras.
“We are as strong as our weakest link, and we need our partners who are part of this element of school safety, from the school board to other elected officials through the municipalities, to start carrying their share of the weight. Tony said, pointing a beard directly at the school district.
He says BSO has been asking to upgrade the cameras since 2019. Dr Cartwright is committed to making this happen as soon as possible, and also urging more teachers to download the Alyssa’s Law app on their phones. Only about 18% of teachers in the district have done so so far.