The police veteran who got sacked by the sheriff after it came to light that he was hiding behind his truck during a school shooting back in 2018 has been reinstated with back pay.
As the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported, Josh Stambaugh, a deputy of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, has been reinstated after an arbitrator ruled that the cop wasn’t properly fired due to a technicality.
According to Florida’s ‘180-day rule’, an officer should not be fired in connection to an incident later than 6 months after the investigation of the incident is complete.
As it happens, Deputy Stambaugh was fired by the sheriff 13 days past the deadline.
Stambaugh was fired in June last year over his handling of the mass shooting that took place at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School back in February 2018 when Nikolas Cruz opened fire and killed 17 students and staff members.
During the school shooting, Stambaugh, who is a 24-year police veteran, responded to the incident while on an off-duty shift at another school.
After arriving at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the deputy reportedly covered behind his vehicle for five minutes before driving off the scene to a nearby highway.
Following the shooting, Stambaugh, who previously received active shooter training, defended his actions by suggesting he acted in the best interest of the victims and other responding officers.
“I could see the whole side of the school and I had binoculars. So, if he was anywhere in that school, on the stairwells, I could, you know, get vision of it and I can advise on the radio,” he claimed in a statement.
Following an investigation, Stambaugh was fired. Now, more than a year later, he has been reinstated with back pay.
“Once again, an arbitrator with no connection or association with Broward County has made a flawed decision to reinstate a deputy who was terminated for his response to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018,” the sheriff’s office expressed in a statement to the Sun Sentinel.
“The arbitrator ruled on a procedural issue that BSO allegedly took too long to conduct the investigation, instead of addressing Joshua Stambaugh’s failures and holding him accountable for his lack of response during the massacre.”
The Office also vowed to “explore all legal options to address this erroneous decision.”
The deputy’s reinstatement follows just months after Sergeant Brian Miller, who was also taking cover behind a vehicle during the school shooting, has been reinstated with back pay due to the same technicality.
Miller was fired back in June 2019 following an investigation during which it was concluded that the cop “failed to coordinate or direct deputies’ actions and did not direct or coordinate an immediate response into the school.”
“Sergeant Miller’s actions were ineffective and he did not properly supervise the scene,” the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission wrote in their report.
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