The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has been beaten up pretty bad over the last year. I know I’ve taken my fair share of shots at the department, though I also try to keep in mind that there are a lot of good men and women working there.
However, earlier today I saw an article that talks about how extreme risk protective orders are going to be a useful tool for the department going forward, and I about lost it.
On a recent weeknight, CBS4 News rode along with Broward Sheriff’s deputies to get an up close look at one of the newest tools in the law enforcement toolbox to fight gun violence — risk protection orders. Our cameras rolled during a safety briefing.
“We’re gonna go over to the house,” said BSO Lt. Alexandra Holmes. “We just need you to provide backup.”
Lieutenant Alexandra Holmes is in charge of this operation to serve the risk protection order, or RPO.
They are the legal mechanism created after the Parkland shooting that allows law enforcement officers to ask a court to take guns and ammunition away from a person deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Holmes said safety is the top priority and they want to make sure the person receiving the RPO understands what’s happening.
“We explain to them that we’re there for a civil matter,” she said. “It’s not a criminal matter. They’re not in any trouble. We’re just concerned for their safety and the safety of the public.”
“We’re trying to prevent serious harm to Broward residents from occurring and we also make sure that people who haven’t done anything wrong aren’t having their rights infringed upon,” Riggio said.
Well, it’s about damn time. Too bad the department couldn’t arrest a snot-nosed little punk being violent over and over again so he couldn’t then purchase an AR-15 and shoot up his school a year ago first. Maybe if the Broward County Sheriff’s Office had done that, we wouldn’t have to deal with all the crap that’s been going on for the last 12 months and 17 high school kids wouldn’t be dead.
Red flag laws aren’t preventing violence. They’re used to disarm people who make others uncomfortable. While they might disarm a shooter or a suicidal individual, they’re far more likely to be used to punish people for saying the wrong thing over dinner or holding the wrong opinions about whatever.
The odds of them saving a life are pretty low. They’ve been in place in California since 2014, for example. But did that law stop the Thousand Oaks shooting?
It didn’t do a thing.
Now, I get that the deputies here are just doing their jobs, even if I think this is stupid. I’m not bashing them for enforcing the law. What I am doing is taking issue with the idea that now they’re interested in keeping people safe. Wasn’t it one of their number hiding outside while 17 kids were murdered in cold blood?
I probably shouldn’t get this angry at a single comment from deputies who had, so far as I know, nothing to do with anything to do with Parkland, but damned if I can stop it.
I can’t get past thinking that if the Broward County Sheriff’s Office wanted to keep people safe, they had a golden opportunity before the Parkland shooting.