FBI doubling number of supervisors at call centers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is doubling the number of supervisors assigned to review tips received from the public, as the agency tries to prevent mass shootings such as last month’s massacre at a Florida high school, the agency’s deputy director said Wednesday.

Testifying before a Senate Committee, Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich said the agency “could have and should have done more” to investigate information it received prior to the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The FBI received at least two credible tips that the suspect in the Florida school shooting had a “desire to kill” and access to guns and could be plotting an attack, but agents failed to investigate.

“While we will never know if any such investigative activity would have prevented this tragedy, we clearly should have done more,” Bowdich told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The comments came as the House was set to vote on a measure Wednesday that authorizes $500 million over 10 years for grants to improve training and coordination between schools and local law enforcement.

The White House said President Donald Trump strongly supports the bill, which if approved, would be the first gun-related action by Congress since the Feb. 14 attack.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the bill “provides a multi-layered approach” to identify threats so authorities can stop violence before it occurs.

“Tragic violence has no place in our schools. Every American believes that,”’ Ryan said. “This legislation will actually take concrete action to prevent that.”

The Senate panel was considering a similar proposal to improve school safety, but much of the hearing focused on law enforcement failures in Florida. Besides the FBI lapses, Broward County, Florida Sheriff Scott Israel has said his office received more than 20 calls about accused gunman Nikolas Cruz in the past few years

Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the committee, noted that Israel declined an invitation to testify Wednesday, as did Michael Carroll, secretary of Florida’s Department of Children and Families.

“By thumbing their noses at Congress, Sheriff Israel and Secretary Carroll have let the American people down and also the citizens of Florida they serve,” said Grassley, R-Iowa.

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