- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2016

The Justice Department will review the law enforcement response to last month’s deadly mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub in order to highlight any lessons that can be learned and applied to future incidents.

The department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services announced Friday that it will undertake an after-action assessment following a request by Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

Police responded in droves to Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, on June 12 after a lone gunman stormed the club in a hail of gunfire and then remained inside for hours with hostages as officers attempted to negotiate with him. A total of 49 people were killed and another 53 injured in the terror attack.

Police faced scrutiny for not entering the club sooner, but have defended their actions, citing the threats made by gunman Omar Mateen.

During the three-hour standoff, Mateen spoke with a crisis negotiator three times, raising additional concern when he falsely advised law enforcement that vehicles in the parking lot were rigged with explosives and that he was wearing an explosive vest.

Between the second time Mateen exchanged gunfire with police in the club at 2:08 p.m. and when police blew a hole in the wall of the building at 5:02 a.m. to rescue individuals stuck inside, there were no gunshots fired inside the club, according to police.

“The lessons learned from this independent, objective and critical review of such a high-profile incident will benefit not only the Orlando Police Department and its community; it will also serve to provide all law enforcement critical guidance and recommendations for responding to future such incidents,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis.

Officials said review will allow the DOJ to provide technical assistance and subject matter experts to assess the Orlando Police Department’s “preparation and response to the mass shooting, strategies and tactics used during the incident, and how the department is managing the aftermath of the mass casualty event.”

Similar assessments have also been conducted for other high-profile incidents, including the critical after-action report that addressed the police response to the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri. A similar review is also underway for the December terror attack in San Bernardino, California.


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