Growing calls for Broward County sheriff to resign

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 27, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO: In the meantime, growing calls for Sheriff Scott Israel -- we were mentioning him, of course -- of the Broward Police Department to resign over his department's response to his shooting.

Governor Scott has yet to do that. But, remember, he's an elected official. So, you can't just fire him outright.

Florida State Representative Bill Hager on all of this.

Sir, what do you make of that and what the governor can or what folks like you can do from your vantage point?


I have called for the resignation of the sheriff. I have called on the governor to conduct an investigation. Under the procedure here in Florida, Neil, under statute, the governor has the authority to investigate and then remove public officials such as the sheriff here.

I called upon him to do that; 74 of my colleagues in the Florida House have called upon him to do so for neglect, for incompetence, the neglect being the embedded deputy sheriff that did nothing, and the neglect being the three Broward sheriffs that apparently, as it's reported anyway, stood behind their vehicles with weapons drawn, instead of going into the carnage.

And, third, now it's reported as many as 40 calls coming in, and as recent as November of 2017, one of those calls was summarized by the sheriff's office itself to the effect that Cruz is a potential school shooter.

So, based on that grounding, I have called for his removal. The governor's authority is to facilitate an investigation and then make a determination of removal or not removal. I believe he ought to be removed. But I'm happy to let facts, Neil, fall where they might.

CAVUTO: You know, Representative, there's been other reports as well that those officers were trying to explain that they were told not to go in until they had their body cams working.

The deputy in question who later resigned, there was confusion. His lawyer said he thoughts the shots were coming from outside. I don't know who to believe, but, bottom line, a lot of confusion there.

But others point out and said, can you lay that all at the steps of the chief?

HAGER: Well, here's my response.

The training, as best I can understand, in a situation of school shooting, is that every moment is a life and every minute is perhaps three, four, five lives.

And the training that I understand, particularly after the Colorado shooting about 20 years ago, was pretty straightforward. And that is to move into the school posthaste and without orders, without any addition...


CAVUTO: Do you know why those other officers didn't do that, then, Representative? I could see the deputies, a lot of concerns. That's a little weird, because maybe he just froze.

But the other deputies -- the other personnel there, that didn't make sense.

HAGER: Made no sense to me.

And the reports of them being behind their vehicles with their weapons drawn, in fact, was brought forward by an independent police authority, in particular the Coral Springs Police Department, who so reported it. And it was the Coral Springs Police Department, as best we can tell, who went into the school first.

And, remember, regardless of when the deputies arrived, people were either being killed or were dying on the floor of that school. And in my judgment, under good police tactics, had an obligation to proceed...


CAVUTO: Yes, it shouldn't have been. You know, you're right, representative. It was odd, to put it mildly.

Now, of course, we're waiting to hear from the governor and his plans. It's a half-billion-dollar plan, I understand, that will call for police officers, some law enforcement official to every school that has at least 1,000 students, I mean, per 1,000.

How do you think that is going to work out?

I might interrupt you as soon as the governor arrives, but if you can complete that.

HAGER: Please do.

I have nothing but respect for the governor. And he will conduct a fair investigation of the sheriff.

But, to the point, the Florida legislature, in my judgment, is going to pass -- I voted today -- through committee on school hardening, and by that, egress, ingress, egress. No one ought to be in the schools except students and teachers and perhaps a few others.

In addition, embedding the police, as you have already referenced, and, third, dealing with the mentally ill. We need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. It seems to me that is fundamental, and we need to put in place provisions to do that, and to do that with speed.

CAVUTO: Do you know whether he's making progress, sir, on this raising the age at which you can get these guns from 18 to 21?

HAGER: The governor is. And, in fact, the legislature is.

We're on board, at least on the House side, as a member of the House, the provision to raise the purchase age of all guns to 21. I voted favorably today coming out of one of the key committees, the Appropriations Committee, on exactly that provision.

So that will move to the House in the next couple of -- more of the House in the next couple days. And you are going to see a pretty comprehensive package doing what we can do.

It's important to recognize there's other institutions involved here. The school board today, throughout this state and probably throughout this nation, can control who comes in and who doesn't come in to schools.

The school board has authority to deal with mentally ill individuals. That was a failure there. And the point is less about pointing fingers, Neil. The point is, let's figure out what went wrong.

Let's do everything in our power to preclude this horrific catastrophe again.

CAVUTO: You know, this is going to cause a half-a-billion dollars, Representative.

I know that the commitment is there. I'm sure the governor will spell out exactly how this will turn here. But we're getting indications that he and the president might not be on exactly the same page, for example, on raising the age for those who get their hands on these guns or, for that matter, just how exhaustive these background checks should be.

Who has got the right idea?

HAGER: I believe the state of Florida does.

I believe those of us here on the scene have the right idea. We're going to pass legislation raising the age to 21. We're going to put in place, as best I can tell, legislation that permits schools, at their own volition, to have teachers carry weapons if they choose, again, at their own volition.

The state of Florida will prevail on these particular issues. We're in the here and now. We heard testimony today from grieving parents that would bend most people to their knees. So we're going to act.

CAVUTO: Do you know whether there's going to be any guidance as to how agencies communicate with others?

And, for example, in the case of even the local police force that was alerted no fewer than at least three dozen times the last few years.

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