Source: Alek Hidell
Our first glimpse into what actually happened during the police response at the Pulse nightclub shooting came from the mouth of Officer Brandon Cornwell. Cornwell provided testimony this week and revealed something shocking. The first cops on scene were told to stand down and wait for the SWAT team. The officers stood by hearing shots firing from a room on the other side of the club. They did nothing. Cornwell admits that he and the other officers on scene obeyed orders and stood down. They could hear the shots being fired and the screams of the victims but they failed to act. They failed to uphold the oath they swore to protect and allowed countless patrons to die.
Earlier reports about the police response indicated that some of the victims may have been killed by law enforcement who blindly fired their assault weapons into a makeshift entrance they made by breaking a hole in the Pulse bathroom wall. This report adds insult to injury and demonstrates how the police response by the Orlando PD was botched right from the get-go. The Orlando PD failed to follow the basic rules of active shooter scenarios as was written in stone after Columbine. In a nutshell, when the first cops get on scene, if they can hear shots being fired, they are mandated to locate and neutralize the threat, even if they are alone. In this case, seven officers stood by for fifteen to twenty minutes, hearing shots fired, and did not move a muscle.
After Columbine, police around the country got together with the FBI and designed specific protocols for active shooter situations. There have been many different active shooter response scenarios and tactical solutions put forward. They all cover a variety of formations the responders will take upon entering the shooting zone. They all have one thing in common. If officers hears shots, even if alone, they go in to neutralize the shooter. That is the solution that the law enforcement community decided upon. The responsibility one carries as a cop is beat into the heads of recruits and officers alike, who should have received some form of active shooter training in their career. Shooter situations challenge officers on a fundamental level. They are a time where you can’t afford to play it safe as a cop. When people are dying, you get to be the first guy in the door. That’s what police are paid for. But not in this case.
According to Cornwell, “We got word from higher up, and it was communicated to the OPD lieutenant that we needed to withdraw,so we came back outside. And waited for SWAT. SWAT arrived. SWAT handled everything from there.” In the short video above, the ALICE Training Institute shows exactly how an active shooter situation should be engaged even if you are alone. This is not specialized training. I worked for a mid size police agency with a mid sized budget and I personally had this type of training at least seven times in a decade. It is a law enforcement standard .For a stand down order to come from Orlando PD supervision and for it to be obeyed by the seven officers including a lieutenant is a complete and utter failure in the training and competency of the department.