‘We do not wait’: Texas sheriff makes it absolutely clear what to do in active shooter situation

The Denton County, Texas, sheriff posted a letter Tuesday informing his deputies how to respond to an active shooter situation. He also bashed Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel in comments to a local TV reporter. (Image via Twitter @tblakehollard screenshot)

Chris Enloe

In the wake of allegations law enforcement botched the response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one Texas sheriff is assuring the public his department will properly respond to an active shooter situation.

What did he say?

Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree posted an internal memo to Twitter on Tuesday that informed deputies the proper response to an active shooter situation.

It said:

With the recent tragedy in Florida, I wanted to make clear my policy on responding to an active shooter. All commissioned Deputies, if you respond to an active shooter you are expected to take immediate action. We do not stage and wait for SWAT, we do not take cover in a parking lot, and we do not wait for another agency. We go in and do our duty. We go in to engage and stop the shooter and save lives. If for any reason you feel you can not follow this directive please inform your supervisor and we will work to get you re-assigned.

Thank you for all you do every day!!

The sheriff ended the letter with a Bible verse — Romans chapter 13, verse 4 — which says: “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, An avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Along with a picture of the letter, Murphree wrote on Twitter there is “no doubt” where his agency stands on responding to active shooters.

“Just in case you were wondering. There is NO DOUBT where we stand. Denton County Sheriff’s Office, BUILT ON INTEGRITY!” he wrote.

The letter was widely praised on social media.

Why the need for clarification?

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and its response to shooting.

In the weeks following the tragedy, it has been revealed that the school resource officer — now-resigned Broward County deputy Scot Peterson — did not enter the building during the shooting. Instead, he stood outside the school with his firearm drawn behind cover. It has also been reported that three other Broward County deputies arrived to the scene and joined their colleague in not entering the building.

In addition, an anonymous EMS first responder who was one of the first to arrive at the school that day said law enforcement prevented medical personnel from entering the school until the building was cleared. The EMT said he believes more lives could have been saved had he and other medical personnel been allowed into the building.

Because of how seemingly botched the response was, nearly every Republican in the Florida House has called on Scott to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

What else did Murphree say?

In a short interview with a local reporter, Murphree had some brutal advice for Sheriff Israel.

“My first advice to him would be to shut up. My first advice would be to quit trying to cover your own butt and lets find out why these officers did not enter the building, lets find out why continual reporters of this shooter were basically ignored and lets find out why we have 17 kids who are dead,” Murphree said.

“He’s the one who threw his deputies under the bus, he’s the one who came out and talked about the SRO not going into the school. And then he appears on CNN as this anti-gun advocate while the investigation is still going on,” he continued.