SUNRISE, Fla. – The 15-member Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission continued their investigation of the Valentine's Day massacre with meetings Thursday and Friday at BB&T in Sunrise.
Broward County schools administrator Michaelle Pope and Mark Greenwald, the director of research for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, defended the Promise program, which aims to help troubled children and teens from kindergarten through high school.
Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old shooter who killed 17 people at the school in Parkland, was referred to it in 2013, but didn't participate. Commissioner Max Schachter, whose son Alex Shachter was among the teens killed, wasn't convinced.
"The whole purpose is the threat that if they don't go into this program they are going to be arrested, but if they are not arrested, what does that accomplish? And if they do go into the Promise program, does it really change their behavior?" Schachter said.
After discussing the program, the commission focused on the lack of armed police officers capable of protecting students from a shooter at school.
In response to the massacre at MSD, the Florida legislature required that each public school have at least one armed guard. But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission's chairman, and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said it is unrealistic to expect to have them at all state schools this fall.
Broward Sheriff's Office Maj. Nichole Anderson say the school district should start its own police department like in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Gualtieri said it's an issue of funding.
The commission will be discussing Cruz's history at the August meeting. Cruz is charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty.
The commission is tasked with issuing their first report with recommendations and findings to Gov. Rick Scott by Jan. 1st.