Captain in Parkland school shooting was brought onto force by Sheriff Israel
By David Fleshler, Stephen Hobbs, Lisa J. Huriash and Linda Trischitta
Listen to: Local law enforcement radio transmissions reveal what was happening as first responders arrived to the scene of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/95940508-132.html
Broward sheriff’s commander — in the spotlight for her role in the Parkland school shooting — applied for employment at the Sheriff’s Office just weeks after Sheriff Scott Israel won his first term in office.
Capt. Jan Jordan, who commands the Parkland district, listed Israel, a former Fort Lauderdale Police captain and SWAT commander, as the one who referred her, according to her Dec. 21, 2012, job application.
Fox News reported that a Broward sheriff’s commander had ordered deputies to set up a perimeter, rather than storm the school and neutralize the shooter. The Miami Herald identified the commander as Jordan, saying a Sheriff’s Office dispatch log shows that she gave the order.
Israel and law enforcement experts say the proper procedure in an active shooter situation is to move in on the shooter immediately, not set up a perimeter.
Jeff Bell, president of the Broward County Sheriff‘s Deputies Association, said he was shown a copy of the log by Fox News and it appeared authentic.
Assuming it was accurate, he said, “this was the wrong command to be given.”
“Our priority is to preserve life,” he said.
He called on the Sheriff’s Office to release the log and other documents on how the shooting was handled.
“Just come clean,” he said. “Release everything. Why not be transparent on this, so we can have the deputies stop being called cowards in public?”
Jordan’s decisions are among many actions being questioned since 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot 17 people to death and wounded 16 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Warnings of Cruz’s intentions came in to the Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Florida Department of Children & Families, yet these agencies either fumbled these tips or failed to intervene effectively.
Israel has come under severe criticism over both the missed warnings and for his agency’s actions the day of the shooting.
Officers from the adjacent Coral Springs Police Department say some sheriff’s deputies waited outside while they rushed into the school building during a period of confusion when it was unclear whether the gunman was still there.
The state House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee this week issued subpoenas to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Broward School Board, Coral Springs and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for records and data related to the shooting, for an investigation of “the actions or omissions of public agencies.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, at the request of the governor, has opened an investigation into the law enforcement response to the shooting.
A major question centers on then-Deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer who resigned after being suspended for failing to confront the shooter. Peterson claimed through his lawyer that he thought the shooter was outside, which turned out to be wrong.
If Peterson reported this to Jordan, that may explain a decision to establish a perimeter, said a Coral Springs Police officer who asked not to be named.
“If Jan [Jordan] heard, ‘I don’t know where’s he at,’” then it makes sense to set up a perimeter because the shooter could be in the parking lot, the officer said.
Jordan had worked 20 years at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, leaving in 2009 at the rank of captain, according to her personnel file, released Friday by the Sheriff’s Office.
After that, she moved to Colorado and worked for just over a year as a sergeant at the Town of Breckenridge Police Department.
Upon returning to Broward County, she worked eight months as accreditation coordinator for the Wilton Manors Police Department and just over three months as an investigator for the Broward County Public Defender’s Office.
Jordan, 49, was overseeing the Broward Sheriff’s Office Civil Division, which handles the service of legal documents, before she was selected to be the Parkland district commander, according to a 2017 performance evaluation.
Her supervisors gave her high marks.
“She carries herself with a quiet confidence that others who work around her see and respect and has a natural command presence and makes decisions that are sound and all-encompassing, and has an excellent understanding of the agency’s goals and objectives,” stated a 2016 performance evaluation.
Coral Springs Fire Chief Frank Babinec was on the panel that chose Jordan for the Parkland district.
“I thought she interviewed very well,” he said. “Her credentials, her resume, I think was what Parkland was looking for and ever since she was put in place as a chief she’s been very good to work with.”
She served as a board member on Broward 2-1-1, a community helpline, PACE Center for Girls, and Women In Distress, a domestic violence center, according to her personnel file.
Jordan couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
Staff writer Megan O’Matz contributed to this report.