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DOJ releases review of Pulse nightclub attack
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DOJ releases review of Pulse nightclub attack

DOJ releases review of Pulse nightclub attack
Photo Credit: � 2017 Cox Media Group.

DOJ releases review of Pulse nightclub attack

The U.S. Department of Justice released its review of how officers with the Orlando Police Department responded to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting.

More than 100 people were injured and 49 people died at the nightclub June 12, 2016, when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire as the club was closing.

Photos: Victims of Pulse nightclub

Orlando Police Chief John Mina requested the independent review by the DOJ and Police Foundation to identify best practices and areas in which to improve regarding planning, training, polices, procedures and practices, the report said.

The report found:

  • The tactical response by the OPD was consistent with the department’s policies, procedures and training, as well as recognized practices. 
  • The OPD successfully leveraged existing relationships with federal, state and local public safety agencies in their response to the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack. 
  • OPD leadership prioritized the mental health of all OPD personnel following the response to the Pulse attack. 
  • Pre-existing Orlando police-community relationships, fostered and sustained over time, enhanced the resilience of the community in the aftermath of the Pulse terrorist shooting.
     

Read: Pulse nightclub victims' detail terrifying moments of Orlando mass shooting

Dispatchers had to mute their phones to compose themselves when victims, survivors and others called 911 for help, the report said.

The report said the Police Department had a “laser-like” focus to stop the killings and save lives.

The report said more training, including adjusting to a world with active shooters, was needed. Mina agreed but wouldn't say what changes in training were made.

"There is no policy or piece of papers that would have saved lives," Mina said. "We adjust training tactics, not only with first responders but for tactical teams, but we are not going to put that on a piece of paper."

Read: Orlando police officer seeks lost wages after retirement due to Pulse-related PTSD

Some of the SWAT team said in the report that the breach of the bathrooms when they tried to get access to Mateen was disorganized and that more training is needed for future joint response.

Read: Orlando firefighter remembers treating Pulse attack's patient No. 1

The report said there was a disconnect of communication between police officer and the Orlando Fire Department.

"We have had many meetings since then about this exact issue, and training is being put into place," Mina said. 

The report said Orlando fire had its own command post that added to the lack of coordination. 

Read: Firefighters criticize Orlando fire chief over care provided following Pulse massacre

Another issue found was that 300 law enforcement officers self-deployed without direction on where to go or what to do.

The report found the staging areas were not secured and that victims went unchecked for explosives.

Read the full report here. 

The report does not discuss friendly fire; the FBI is investigating if friendly fire took place. Mina said at this time, there's no indication friendly fire took place.

 

 

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