JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A police recruit with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office died after a training session at a police academy in Northwest Jacksonville Thursday.

JSO says Tony Cephas, 43, had a 'medical episode' during a break in a training session at the FSCJ police academy.

Cephas was just 10 days into the academy. JSO said one of the instructors noticed he seemed to be in discomfort and called a paramedic. Cephas was transported to the Baptist North Hospital, where he died. 

“Recruit Cephas has a military history and had done well in all of his physical training since starting at the academy," said JSO's Director of Investigations and Homeland Security Ron Lendvay.

First Coast News spoke with Dr. Ivorique Turner, a Navy veteran and family medicine doctor. She spoke about military training, which is similar to the training at the police academy. “The screening always starts with the applicant,” she said.

Dr. Turner said recruits typically fill out a medical history form and are given a physical screening before training.


“This is the opportunity for the medical officer to then refer that applicant on for further testing,” she said.

It's no secret the training is rigorous.

“Part of that training as you go through the academy is physical training, something all officers has been through or has to go through and helps sharpen them before they go out into the streets,” said Lendvay.

Screenings are not guaranteed to catch everything, and it's likely some recruits don't know about all of their medical issues.

JSO says Cephas, a veteran, leaves behind a wife and two children.