ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. --
Major policy changes were announced Tuesday in response to a deadly shooting of Orange County Deputy Brandon Coates. Sheriff Jerry Demings announced how his department will better protect their deputies.
The sheriff's office conducted a review of its procedures, following the deadly shooting in December.
Deputy Coates was gunned down during a traffic stop.
The night Deputy Coates was killed his radio calls were only being monitored by members of his own, small anti-crime squad. Demings said that will not be the case going forward and it's just one of several changes announced.
Demings walked into a news conference surrounded by members of his top brass. One of the first voices heard was of Deputy Coates during the radio call.
Only members of his tactical anti-crime squad heard him over the radio say he was pulling over a truck in a high-crime area off of Orange Blossom Trail.
The channel he used was not being monitored by dispatchers who found out Coates had been shot only after 911 calls began coming in from witnesses on the scene.
"It's very unusual for a 911 operator to receive a call that an officer is down. The deputy himself usually calls and says I need help, I've been shot or there's another deputy doing that," said Communications Supervisor Major Ron Stucker.
However, Deputy Coates was alone on his patrol the night he died. Now, members of his unit are required to work in teams of two, and a dispatcher is now assigned to listen to their radio channel.
Sheriff Demings said the changes will improve the safety of his deputies, but he was quick to point out nothing could have saved Deputy Coates from Brandon Lyles, who is an ex-con with a long rap sheet and just released from prison.
"Even if there had been a deputy right there with him, we would've had another deputy killed," Demings said.
It took dispatchers almost three minutes after the first 911 call came in to broadcast over the radio that an officer was down. The sheriff's office is still looking into why it took so long, but they did say dispatchers will be receiving more training.
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