Course hosted by JAX Chamber and Black Knight was in the works long before this weekend’s events.
Jacksonville is reeling after two shootings over the weekend – one following a high school football game and the other at a video game tournament – left 4 people dead and many more injured, both physically and mentally.
But there are options for those who wish to prepare as best as one can in an age where news headlines about shootings are becoming all too commonplace.
The JAX Chamber and Black Knight are co-hosting a course in dealing with an active shooter. The class is 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sept. 5 at Black Knight’s offices at 601 Riverside Avenue.
But the agencies didn’t decide to offer the training right after the incidents occurred. In fact, the class was announced weeks before a 24-year-old Baltimore man killed two fellow video gamers at Chicago Pizza in the Jacksonville Landing before shooting himself Sunday and a suspected gang member killed a 19-year-old man and wounded two teens at the end of a Raines High School football game on Friday.
Michelle Kersch, a senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Black Knight, said the software, data and analytics solution firm is willing to offer more of the classes if there is demand. She said the class can hold up to 200 participants.
Matt Galnor, vice president of public affairs with the chamber, said about 60 people have registered for the course as of Monday. The class is $5 for chamber members or $15 for non-members.
The training is being conducted by Michael Skoglund, vice president and director of the Physical Security Office at Black Knight, and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division Chief Nick Burgos, a 22-year law enforcement veteran and former commander of the JSO SWAT team.
Both men said they train people using the same basic protocols adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: “Run, hide, fight,” and in that specific order. If you can run, do so, they said. If you can’t, hide. And finally, if you have no other choice, become violent.
“We have been taught all our lives that fighting is wrong,” Skoglund said. “But everybody has the right to defend themselves. If someone is trying to kill you...you don’t have to fight fairly.”
Both men, who were interviewed prior to the most recent Jacksonville shootings, said we are living in a society going in the “wrong direction” because of active shooting incidents happening on an average of once every three weeks. It used to be every four weeks, Skoglund said.
For those who can’t attend the upcoming training or another course, Homeland Security has many free resources available on its website at dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness.
To sign up for the course, visit the chamber’s online registration page at https://bit.ly/2oeVmka.