Members of the Jacksonville Beach SWAT team were at the University of North Florida Tuesday morning, but their presence was a planned safety drill for the students.
The university has a beautiful campus, but it's just as vulnerable as any other institution for violence. That's why the crisis management team came together to try to be proactive and ensure safety of students and staff if something were to happen like the tragedy at Episcopal School of Jacksonville last week, in which the head of school was killed in a murder-suicide.
"Oh, I feel safe," said Matt Corrigan, UNF political science professor. "I don't think you can hide in your room and not go anywhere. You have to go out and live life, go out and prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. There's never been a school shooting, murder or anything of the sort at UNF."
SWAT and Jacksonville Fire-Rescue was in Osprey land starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. They put on a mock training exercise in hopes of preparing everyone in case of a catastrophe. Students were not involved in the drill because it's spring break.
"This is real life. You can't prevent a crisis from happening, but you certainly can be prepared in the event one is going to happen," UNF spokeswoman Joanna Norris said.
The campus uses Code Red alerts through email and text. It goes to students, staff and parents on the list. UNF does drills like this annually to prepare the campus for a potential crisis.