Seminole County tax workers prepare for active shooter

2-day program designed to ensure safety of employees, customers

File photo.
File photo.

CASSELBERRY, Fla. – Employees with the Seminole County Tax Collector underwent an active shooter scenario Wednesday just before the Casselberry branch opened its doors for business.

During the simulation, workers made decisions on how to respond when a man walked in and opened fire with blank ammunition rounds.

"I was scared (and) my heart was pounding," office manager Paula Prevatt said. "I think your adrenaline kicks in and you're going to either protect yourself or the people surrounding you."

Officials with the Tax Collector's Office said the training was part of a two-day program designed to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

"We hand them a visual representation of what their reality is, and in doing so, they reacted very well," CIO Christopher Anderson said.

Wednesday's active shooter training was the last of several that have taken place at tax collector offices across the county.  Organizers said the curriculum covered a basic aspect of deciding whether to run, hide or fight, but the lesson could be expanded on in the future.

"We're giving the clerks and anybody else that's part of this training the avenues to use it not only here, but in the outside world," Deputy Revenue Officer Juan Saavedra said.

In October 2017, the Seminole County Tax Collector's Office became the first in Florida to hire employees who were also trained to be armed while on the job.

Four deputy revenue officers were sworn in to handle a variety of duties, which also includes security at their assigned location.

"We have the benefit of doing it with less, but getting more and using the potential of our employees with other aspects other than just security," Anderson said.

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