PARKLAND, Fla. – The surveillance system at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has the ability to monitor the camera views in real time, a Broward County Public Schools spokeswoman said in a news release Thursday.
The announcement comes after Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi told the Sun-Sentinel that for nearly 30 minutes after Nikolas Cruz, 19, had escaped the school, police officers thought they were seeing Cruz's actions live on the school's security system.
Pustizzi said officers soon realized the images were tape-delayed, which made a chaotic situation more confusing.
Cruz was captured an hour later in a neighborhood about 2 miles from the school where 17 people died Feb. 14.
The newspaper reported that police transmissions show that police initially couldn't get to security cameras.
However, the school district refuted the police chief's claims.
"The surveillance system definitely has the ability to view the cameras in real-time," the statement from BCPS spokeswoman Tracy Clark read. "It also has the ability to view the recorded footage and replay footage from earlier in the day. During the immediate response to the event, the system was being viewed in real-time and the recorded footage was being viewed to retrace the actions of the shooter."
Pustizzi re-stated his claims Friday, but clarified that no students were in danger despite the confusion.
"There was a 20-minute delay," he said. "The delay never put us in a situation where any kids' lives were in danger or any teachers' lives were in danger. The delay was simply when we got there and the (Broward) Sheriff's Office and our officers and other officers from the community went into that building -- the key is to get as much intelligence as possible.
"The issue was more of a communication failure on who was reviewing the tape, letting other guys know that it was a 20-minute delay that they were reviewing. So as you can imagine -- you heard some of the dispatch tapes from the Sheriff's Office -- at first, the guys are hearing, 'Oh, he's on the second floor. Well, it's not true because we had people on the second floor."
Clark said the district no longer has access to the footage, "as the server and all footage related to the incident was removed from the district's possession through a search warrant as part of the investigation to the event."
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference he didn't know about the supposed security system delays but would look into it.