PARKLAND, Fla. – When the shots began ringing out at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, Broward Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jan Jordan was the commanding officer in Parkland.
But we now know it was the Coral Springs Police Department, under Chief Anthony Pustizzi, that set up a command post at the scene and led the response.
So where was Jordan and what was she doing? That question has led to a great deal of speculation and controversy in law enforcement circles. Several sources close to BSO are questioning not only Jordan’s actions that day, but also whether Jordan, a former Fort Lauderdale cop hired by Broward Sheriff Scott Israel after his election, was even qualified for the post when Israel moved her from the civil division, where she handled such things as subpoenas and evictions, to become the district commander in Parkland last year.
As for the shooting itself, numerous BSO sources claim without substantiation that Jordan instructed deputies to set up perimeter around the school rather than go inside to confront the shooter as policy demands. Fox News has reported that the Parkland commander issued that order, but the allegation remains unproven. What we do know is the the school armed deputy, Scot Peterson, failed to enter the school while the shooting was taking place and that several other deputies allegedly failed to enter the building in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, an allegation Israel told CNN on Sunday that doesn’t dispute.
Israel and BSO have answered none of Local 10’s questions regarding Jordan. And when investigative reporter Bob Norman caught up with Jordan and asked her if she’d ever led an incident command in the past and whether any stand-down order had been issued, she refused to answer.
"I don’t have any comments," she said. "Sorry, sir."
The sheriff avoided the media at a prayer service Thursday that was held in his honor at a Pompano church run by BSO associate chaplain John Mohorn, a pastor whom Israel put on the BSO payroll and who as of last year was being paid $68,000 a year in taxpayers’ money. On Wednesday night, Israel canceled a previously scheduled speaking event in Davie. But in the CNN interview, he said the actions of every BSO employee involved in the shooting response will be investigated.
"We will look at all the actions or inactions of every single deputy and leader on our agency, sergeants, lieutenants, captains," he said.
When asked if there had been a stand-down order issued by anyone, Israel didn’t issue a clear denial.
"I can't tell you anything about that," said Israel. "I haven't heard that."