Transcript: U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Florida on "Face the Nation," May 29, 2022 – CBS News

Share Article

Watch CBS News
/ CBS News
The following is a transcript of an interview with U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Florida that aired on Sunday, May 29, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”  The full interview transcript can be found below.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re going to go now to Orlando, Florida and Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings. Before serving in Congress, she was the chief of police for Orlando. Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us. 
REPRESENTATIVE VAL DEMINGS: It’s great to be with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As a former police chief, what is the single piece of- of legislation that you think would be most effective right now?
REP. DEMINGS: Well, Margaret, look, 27 years at the police department, served as the chief of police, our primary responsibility was the safety of the people that we served. And I believe that we have a direct obligation- I cannot like I’m sure, millions of Americans across the nation- cannot get the faces of those survivors from the classroom in Uvalde. We have a direct obligation to move forward to make sure that they’re safe. I believe right now, if the United States Senate, because the House has done their job, I believe right now, if the Senate would look at passing the background check law, as- as well as looking at red flags. Right here in Florida, we have almost 6,000 cases where red flag laws have made a difference, at least according to law enforcement and other people involved in those cases. And we have a direct obligation to do what we can when we can. And I believe that those are two pieces of legislation that have overwhelming public support. We can get it done if the Senate has the political will to do it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think there needs to be more federal money to shore up security at schools, The White House says they’ve already helped to push about 10 billion out to states for public safety.
REP. DEMINGS: I think we also should look at school safety every day. I think there should always be an assessment. As technology has changed, we need to use the best, the most state of the art technology. But Margaret, our children are not in school 24 hours a day. So certainly, let’s make sure we make our schools secure. Let’s make sure we try to eliminate the human error factor. But what about churches? What about synagogues? What about grocery stores? What about movie theaters? We’ve got to do a job of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. There again, the Senate can take action on that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m going to ask you about this response in Texas because apart from the shooter, now there’s this probe of what the police did with their response that day. You know, after the massacre in Parkland, the school officer who was assigned to protect those kids was later charged with criminal negligence for his inaction. Given what we’ve learned about what happened in Texas, should we expect the same there?
REP. DEMINGS: Well, what we must demand is a thorough and complete investigation. Margaret, I served as a law enforcement officer pre-Columbine. I served as a law enforcement officer post-Columbine. Pre-Columbine, we would respond to an active shooter situation, we would secure the perimeter, and then we would wait for the crisis negotiators and the SWAT team. I served as a crisis negotiator for 12 years. We all know post-Columbine, there is no time to waste, that the officers on that scene are expected to go into those active shooter situations. We trained on it at the Orlando Police Department and every sworn member including the chief of police went through the active shooter training. So obviously, that did not happen. The other important thing, those early minutes after the shooting, we know that there’s a demand for more and more information, but the information that we give, especially when we say an SRO, school resource officer, went in and basically engaged a suspect and ammunition or- or bullets were fired, and that’s not true, the communications, we have to make sure that it is as clear and as accurate as possible. So there’s a lot of work to do there. We have certainly more questions than answers, and I know that we’re gonna get to the bottom of it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Should there be some sort of federal probe or some sort of school shooting safety board at the federal level, or is this all up to Texas State Police?
REP. DEMINGS: Well, what we do know is that there were multiple agencies involved. I personally think the wrong agency was in charge of that scene. But let me say this, I wasn’t there on the ground. I know that police officers have a tough job in these active shooter situations, as we’ve seen time and time again. They’re usually outgunned. We know that. But we must, Margaret, demand an investigation and I believe the FBI, I mean, that would be my vote for a federal investigation. But I do believe since there were so many agencies involved on the ground, it’s important that we know what role every agency played. It’s important that we know, was there any discussion about going in, those 19 offices who we’re told were in the hallway, were they any discussion between other commanders from other departments? We must know the answers to those questions. And I think a federal investigation is certainly in order.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you quickly, are you satisfied with the scope of President Biden’s executive order on police reform this week?
REP. DEMINGS: Well, I certainly think the duty to intervene and look, we know that police departments come in different sizes, some that are 35,000, some are as small as 10 or six. And so the level of training that they get is different, but duty to intervene, the de-escalation training being included in use of force, making sure that the public is aware of criminal- or not criminal- but misconduct could be criminal in some instances. I think all of those things are a good start. But Margaret, that’s all they are. I also think we need to look at training across the board with law enforcement, and let’s standardize the training so the small agencies will have the benefit of good training just like the larger agencies,
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congresswoman Demings. Thank you very much for your time. We’ll be right back.
First published on May 29, 2022 / 12:37 PM
© 2022 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright ©2022 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.


You might also like

Surviving 2nd wave of corona

Surviving The 2nd Wave of Corona

‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort