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Active Shooter Exercise

Jacksonville Public Library (JPL)

Problem Statement

One of the objectives of JPL’s strategic plan is to “Ensure the Safety and Attractiveness of Library Facilities.” The Main Library in downtown Jacksonville is a 300,000+ sq. ft., five story, centrally located facility encompassing one entire city block. JPL’s Main Library is the largest public library in the state of Florida. With ever-growing concerns regarding customer and staff safety in the library, we wanted to be pro-active in ensuring our emergency procedures were sound and that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) was able to easily navigate this complex facility. Should we ever have a real emergency, JSO would be familiar with our building from top to bottom and be fully prepared to respond.


As part of an on-going effort to improve facility emergency procedures, JPL’s Facility Management and Planning (FM&P) staff, working through First Coast Security, coordinated a special ‘active shooter’ real-time training exercise with JSO SWAT on 1/20/11 at the Main Library. Over 30 fully geared JSO SWAT officers participated in the exercise which started at 4 a.m. and concluded at 8 a.m. JSO SWAT deployed its mobile command center and its armored tactical transport vehicle. SWAT team members practiced hostage negotiation exercises, armed subject searches on all floors/stacks and two-way communications testing throughout the facility. The ‘active shooter’ exercise was the first of its kind in JPL buildings and was mutually beneficial to all parties involved.


The training exercise was a great way for JSO to become familiar with the building’s layout and provided FM&P a better understanding the safety protocols we need to implement and/or update. As a result, we are updating security guard procedures, finding ways to improve 2 way communications throughout the building, adding CCTV cameras in two large assembly spaces in the conference center and creating emergency binders for each facility with floor plans, telephone extensions, and hardware provisions for external use.