A retired veteran Jacksonville sheriff’s officer was injured Wednesday morning during a training exercise when a member fired a gun with a blank at him, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Chip Williams was training 10 officers at the Criminal Justice Center next to Florida State College of Jacksonville on Capper Road when the incident occurred. Director Tom Hackney said Williams was working with corrections officer Tyler Kovacs, a five-month employee, in a use-of-force training event.
Williams initially fired the weapon, and Kovacs was supposed to respond with his own gun loaded with soap-tipped simulated bullets.
“One of the students involved in this went up and took the blank gun … from the instructor’s waistband and placed that against the instructor’s back and fired,” Hackney said. “There is no projectile in that. It is just a blank. But it is gunpowder.”
The force of the gunpowder penetrated his skin, Hackney said. No live ammunition is used in any training at this academy, and all instructors wear protective gear, he said.
“You cannot sometimes predict the human factor,” Hackney said. “In this case, the human factor came into play.”
This is the first time an incident like this has occurred, Hackney said. The program teaches officers how to correctly respond to an incident where someone uses a gun. He said the way the course is given is under review.
The soap tipped bullets used by the trainees are officially known as simunition, Hackney said.
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