ORLANDO, Fla. - 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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Report: teams like swat said response during incident was disorganized. Need to train more together in joint response— Shannon Butler (@SButlerWFTV) December 18, 2017
The @COPSOffice has released its review of the Pulse nightclub attack - calls it "a valuable guide to #LawEnforcement or #FirstResponders seeking to prepare for similar mass casualty incidents."— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) December 18, 2017
OPD release: https://t.co/8vJPia1O7O
Full report: https://t.co/V73UMs75HF pic.twitter.com/GMJIXMztPa