North Miami Police train for active shooter scenario at JCC

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - Following a surge in threats to Jewish Community Centers in recent months, North Miami Police held a training simulation at a local center in case someone ever follows through with a threat.

Aventura and North Miami Beach Police, among other agencies, joined NMPD in an active shooter training exercise at Jewish Community Services in North Miami. They shut down a block and brought out rescue trucks, armored vehicles and SWAT teams to make the scenario feel as real as possible.

“We created a scenario as real as we can possibly make it,” North Miami Police Commander Rafael Estrugo said.

Asked how police protect children and staff when they are evacuated outside JCCs, Estrugo said they train and educate their officers and the community.

“Well we train. We train hard,” Estrugo said. “We educate our Jewish Community Centers. We educate the public.”

The increase in bomb threats called into JCCs has been a local and national issue. One concern with the increase in threats is whether the people evacuated outside could become targets.

“Unfortunately, you can’t just disperse everyone,” Assistant Chief Neal Cuevas said. “So you have to control the situation as best you can and we found out through the years, the best way to do it is to have certain concentrations of individuals that you’re evacuating from the building.”

Officials said that’s why training exercises can be crucial.

Tuesday’s training exercise centered around an active shooter with hostages inside. The scenario even included the media briefings that would occur during a real crisis.

North Miami residents awoke to the action in their neighborhood, and were relieved to find out it was a training exercise.

“You’re thinking of the future instead of waiting for something to happen,” Jennifer Francois said, “and then that’s when it’s chaotic, so the training part just really set me at ease.”

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.