The Florida deputy who waited outside as a gunman targeted staff and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17, was twice nominated as the School Resource Deputy of the Year and won the award in 2014, personnel records obtained by CNN show.
Deputy Scot Peterson resigned following his suspension Thursday, after being accused of doing nothing to stop last week’s massacre. An internal investigation is pending.
One of the nominations for the deputy of the year award, written by a supervisor in March 2017, noted that Peterson “takes pride in protecting the students, faculty and staff at his school.”
He is “dependable and reliable,” a sergeant wrote, “and handles issues that arise with tact and solid judgment.”
That assessment appears at odds with his actions on February 14, as presented Thursday by Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Israel said Peterson took cover outside the school as bullets flew for four minutes and “never went in.”
The sheriff told reporters Peterson should have “addressed the killer. Killed the killer.”
Israel said his account of Peterson’s actions was based on video footage, witness statements and an interview with Peterson himself.
The portrait that emerged, Israel said, left him “devastated. Sick to my stomach.”
CNN has left messages at phone numbers for people listed as Scot Peterson, but has not gotten a response.
Peterson’s departure from the sheriff’s department follows decades’ worth of positive performance reviews for the 6’5”, seemingly well-liked and respected deputy. He met or exceeded expectations year after year.
“Team player and model employee,” said a review dating back to 2005.
“He personifies a positive image for the agency,” read a 2010 review.
“Keeps supervisors apprised of sensitive incidents as they develop,” a 2014 review noted. “Shows great initiative.”
Peterson was nominated for School Resource Deputy of the Year for that year as well, records show.
In 2015, Sheriff Israel himself noted Peterson’s then-30-year-tenure.
“Your dedication and allegiance are the best illustrations of the service [the sheriff’s office] provides to the people of Broward County,” Israel wrote.
Two complaints investigated
CNN also saw documents showing that Peterson was twice the subject of complaints reviewed by internal affairs.
In 1994, he was accused of “conduct unbecoming an employee,” a summary of the case states. The charge was deemed “unfounded” two months later.
In 2015, the records show, he was accused of an offense described only as “discretion.”
“No disposition reported,” the summary reads. “Final recommendation: Counsel.”
The full case files regarding the incidents were not immediately available, a Broward sheriff’s records administrator said. Officials were attempting to locate the files, but said that records from the 1994 matter may have been destroyed due to the passage of time.