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Jacksonville Beach police ready if faced with active shooter

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The deadly mass shooting outside a Dayton, Ohio nightclub is a reminder that acts of violence can erupt in places where many gather to socialize.

"Shots fired. Shots fired. Dispatch, we've got shots fired. We've got multiple people down. We need multiple medics," a Dayton police officer was heard saying over a radio during the shooting.

It's a scenario officers with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department have trained for, given the large number of bars along the main strip that can attract hundreds of people.

Sgt. Larry Smith said the department has spoken with bar owners about what to do if there is an active shooter or a fight that has the potential to escalate.

"If something happens, we want you to shut down the party. Open the doors. Let people out. Turn the lights on. Help us by getting people out of there," Smith said.

During the mass shooting in Dayton, officers killed the shooter in 30 seconds, likely preventing more deaths. Smith said the Jacksonville Beach Police Department response would be just as quick, given the several dozen uniform and undercover officers who are strategically positioned.

"There's been several shootings we've had down here in this area where our officers have viewed the shooting because they were so close," Smith said.

Surveillance cameras were recently installed monitoring the entrances and exits to some bars in Jacksonville Beach. Some of the camera feeds are constantly monitored.

"I'm sure someone is watching us right now," Smith said.

Smith said officers are aware that people with concealed carry permits might be carrying a firearm with them to the strip. He wants those people to know that if shots are fired and they pull out a firearm, they could be mistaken as a threat.


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