PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fl. -- It was a day of training for roughly 30 officers from across Northeast Florida, working through mock hostage situations, mock bomb threats and using heavy machinery to breaking through doors and windows.
"We look at how to protect our folks in a tragic situation. And see what type if equipment can do," says St. Johns County Media Relations Officer Kevin Kelshaw.
Today's demolition drills are being held in the Publix supermarket parking lot in Ponte Vedra Beach. The grocery store was shut down earlier this week for renovations. The sheriff's office says it was the perfect opportunity for training. "It's very important for us to train in real-life situations and it's not often we have an opportunity to do that in a real building," said Kelshaw.
One focus of today's training was a bullet-proof machine called The Rook. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the St. Johns County Sheriffs Office both have one and say it can save lives.
"Anytime you might need to get into a building without taking a chance on somebody's life. You have a lot of protection in a rook," said Kelshaw.
You can expect to hear loud noises and even explosions as they conduct those drills. The exercises are expected to last until 5 p.m. today.