• Jacksonville Sheriff's Office conducts SWAT and police training at the Florida Theatre downtown

    By: Cole Heath , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office conducted training exercises in downtown Jacksonville on Wednesday morning.

    At the Florida Theatre, armed JSO SWAT and police officers got ready to move in for the drill. People like Sandra Page and Carlton Hunter were walking by, wondering what was going on.

    A street sign placed in front of the theater warned people the scene was for police training.

    Officers at the scene told Action News Jax it is training for an active shooter situation, with officers carrying pretend wounded people out by hand while depicting a very real threat, including a hostage negotiation.

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    Action News Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson is a former JSO hostage negotiator, and described what goes into scenarios like Wednesday's training.

    “You have to practice these things, sharpen everything,” Jefferson said. “They give you the do’s and don’ts, how to approach (hostage takers). You have to know how to talk to (hostage takers), to where they don’t feel talked down to.”

    “I think it’s awesome, they need to know more stuff like that. The more knowledge you’re getting on the situation, you’re not going in blind,” resident Sandra Page said.

    A JSO spokesperson tells Action News Jax training events like the one at the Florida Theatre happen every Wednesday.

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