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Urban Shield "largest Homeland Security drill in the country"
by Absolutely Revolting
Thursday Oct 2nd, 2008 7:47 AM
UrbanShield bring terror home to your urban front yard
urban-shield.jpg
urban-shield.jpg

Urban Shield "largest Homeland Security drill in the country"

The following is about UrbanShield the "largest Homeland Security drill in the country". Article from the Berkeley Daily Planet followed by Urban Shield's official website and sponsors (which includes a mention of BlackWater Worldwide twice and TASER). And followed by an article from PoliceOne's editor Doug Wylie at bottom.

Story



Downtown Berkeley ‘Urban Shield’ Drill Draws Fire

By Ali Winston Special to the Planet
Thursday September 25, 2008


Friday, Sept. 13, was a typical day for residents of 1910 Oxford St. in Berkeley—except for the commotion of a heavily armed SWAT team racing up the back stairway of a neighboring University building on Berkeley Way.

“It was definitely weird to see that many people mobilized and in full uniform,” said Elise Craig, who lives on the third floor of 1910 Oxford St.

A radical animals rights group was holding several students hostage in a former laboratory, and the SWAT team was rushing to meet them with guns drawn. Sharp reports of gunfire came moments later—as officers in the parking lot below sipped coffee and bottled water.

In reality, the operation was one of 24 terrorism-themed scenarios conducted in the Bay Area by 26 tactical teams as part of a continuous 50-hour event called Urban Shield. Hosted for the second year running by the Alameda County sheriff and sponsored in part by Department of Homeland Security funds and corporate sponsors, Urban Shield was billed as the largest Homeland Security drill in the nation.

More than 1,600 officers from California and the East Coast took part in the scenarios, which included hostage rescue, school takeovers, airplane hijackings, dignitary protection, prison riots, industrial sabotage, and live shooter response.

Homeland Security drills have become more frequent. On Sept. 23, a large-scale preparedness exercise took place in train stations across the East Coast.

While a security event as large as Urban Shield was bound to attract media attention, the timing and nature of the operation is conspicuous in light of the Aug. 27 raid on the Long Haul Infoshop by UC Berkeley police. An affidavit filed in Alameda County Superior Court to support a UCPD’s search warrant application cited threats to university researchers who experiment on animals as justification.

The Berkeley Way scenario, designed by UCPD, has drawn particular criticism. Animal rights activists such as the Animal Liberation Front have destroyed property belonging to animal researchers, as in the Aug. 2 firebombings in Santa Cruz. However, there is no record of the ALF or similar organizations taking hostages.

“Putting a label on a group is very dangerous,” said James B. Chanin, a local civil rights attorney. “That’s not disaster training, that’s propaganda.”

Chanin, who was a founding member of the Berkeley Police Review Commission, says there is a history of injecting politics into police training.

He recalled a Berkeley Police crowd control exercise in the 1970s that involved armed “demonstrators” equipped with shotguns and United Farm Workers banners. The police commission subsequently banned the department from repeating such training.

In particular, Chanin worries about law enforcement holding incorrect notions about animal rights activists, many of whom are engaging in constitutionally protected activities.

“If there’s a subliminal message that that’s what these groups do, then it’s inappropriate training,” Chanin said.

Calls to the UC Police Department for comment were not returned.

Local law enforcement viewed Urban Shield as an invaluable learning opportunity to hone skills that can be applied to a variety of scenarios.

“All these are transferable skill sets for the Barricaded Subject Hostage Negotiation Team,” said Officer Andrew Frankel, Berkeley Police Department spokesman. The BSHNT is the Berkeley Police equivalent of a SWAT team. Berkeley police helped staff the Berkeley Way simulation, Frankel said, but did not participate in the planning process.

Coordinating disparate agencies can come in particularly useful during natural disasters, such as earthquakes. “It does more for natural disaster training than for tactical operations, from our perspective,” said Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County sheriff.

The sheriff’s office is the lead agency during any natural disaster, said Nelson, and Urban Shield provided a chance to gauge their ability to coordinate multiple agencies and test out emergency equipment.

Corporate sponsors also donated equipment for live-action trials. Blackwater Worldwide, a much-criticized military contracting firm, donated a prototype vehicle to the aircraft hijacking scenario at Oakland International airport.

Ensuring that the public is aware of such large-scale drills is critical. “Make sure the population doesn’t get terrorized by the exercise,” said security expert Bruce Schneier.

To spread awareness of Urban Shield, local police departments reached out to homeowners associations and issued press releases prior to the weekend.

Elise Craig’s landlord posted a notice in her elevator the day before Urban Shield began. Although she became accustomed to preparedness drills complete with role-playing victims and fake blood while living in Washington, D.C., the Sacramento native says the SWAT teams and early-morning gunfire would have caught her off-guard without advance warning.

“If you didn’t know what it was,” she said, “it would have been really scary.”

from
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2008-09-25/article/31176?headline=Downtown-Berkeley-Urban-Shield-Drill-Draws-Fire


Picture of UrbanShield in training action
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/photos/09-25-08/shieldweb.jpg

the official website
http://www.urbanshield.org

List of Sponsors
TITLE
BAE Systems

DIAMOND
5.11 Tactical
Adamson’s Police Products
Blackwater Worldwide
Cobalt Equipment
First Choice Armor
Mine Safety Appliances
MPRI (Beamhit)
Recon Robotics
Sig Sauer
Tactical Command Industries
TASER International
The Spiller Group (The Rook)

PLATINUM
Bump Energy Drink
Maxor
Northern Lights Tactical
Safe Restraints
Sprint
Winchester Ammunition

GOLD
IronKey
LPS Tactical

SILVER
Blackhawk!
Coca-Cola, Inc.
Crimson Trace
Oakley, Inc.

BRONZE
CamelBak
Prison Health Services
SF Police Credit Union

EXHIBITORS
5.11 Tactical
Adamson’s Police Products
BAE Systems
Blackhawk!
Blackwater Worldwide
California State Sheriff’s Association
Capture Technologies, Inc.
Cobalt Equipment
Crimson Trace
Custom Ear Protection, Inc.
Dey, L.P.
Dolphin Graphics
First Choice Armor
IronKey
LC Action Supply
L-3/ EOTech
LPS Tactical
Mine Safety Appliances
MPRI (Beamhit)
Northern Lights Tactical
Oakley, Inc.
Pelican Products, Inc.
Prison Health Services
ProForce Law Enforcement
Recon Robotics
Safe Restraints
SF Police Credit Union
Sig Sauer
Sprint
Tactical Command Industries
TASER International
The Ed Jones Badge Company
The Spiller Group (The Rook)
Vigilant Video

http://www.urbanshield.org/urban_shield_sponsors.html


Urban Shield 2008: Plan, prepare, and train

Plan, prepare, and train. This sentence accurately captures both the underlying philosophy and the overarching goals for the recently completed Urban Shield 2008 – the single largest homeland security training exercise of its kind in the United States.
Alameda County Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern said during his address to the officers and volunteers assembled on Monday night for the awards ceremony aboard the USS Hornet, “We must plan for future events, prepare to undertake our roles as first responders, and make our training as realistic as possible. We have to be ready for any natural disaster or act of domestic or foreign terrorism.”
Alameda County Assistant Sheriff Steve Roderick was the overall operations commander for this year’s event. With financial support from the Bay Area Super Urban Area Security Initiative (SUASI), and a generous contribution from BAE Corporation, Assistant Sheriff Roderick brought in 25 Tactical Teams from around the San Francisco Bay Area, the state of California, and from as far away as Boston, Massachusetts. Assistant Sheriff Roderick and his team put together two dozen realistic scenarios in simulated real-world conditions – including dignitary protection, hostage rescue, industrial sabotage, prison riot, maritime interdiction, aircraft interdiction, school takeover, active shooter response, and many others – that every team had to complete within an allotted period of time.
Three medical checkpoints were spaced evenly over the 48+ hour training schedule, where the physical condition of every participant was verified good-to-go. Safety was emphasized at every venue and challenge – and with only a handful of exceptions, the teams returned home exhausted but uninjured.
One of the officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Office suffered a cut to the scalp requiring nine staples to close the wound. Sheriff Ahern joked from the podium on Monday, “I’m sure that scar will be gone in about 50 or 60 years from now.” The Sergeant in question did not quit the drill however, telling the medical staff when it was suggested that he sit out a couple of scenarios: “I’m sticking with my team.”
Good thing too, because with his help, LACSO took first place in this year’s competition. Coming in second was the 2007 winning team, Fremont Police Department SWAT. Third place team in 2008 was Sacramento Police Department SWAT.
More than 75 law enforcement and government agencies took part in the exercise in some capacity. There were 25 tactical teams with more than 200 individual members that competed in the training challenge, and more than 1,700 volunteers who worked to bring the exercise off. Hundreds of civilians and actors played the parts of victims and hostages, getting a rare opportunity to see firsthand their first line of defense against terrorism on our shores. Countless thousands of rounds of Simunition were expended. Outstanding new gear from Blackwater Worldwide, TASER, U.S. Armor, and others was on display and in the hands of the tactical teams. All in, it was a truly impressive operation.
Matt Bettenhausen, Director of the Office of Homeland Security for California, remarked during his keynote address at the Monday evening banquet: “I’ve been involved in a lot of homeland security exercises…and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the greatest, most extensive law enforcement exercise anywhere in the nation.”
No one present during this weekend’s exercises would dispute that opinion. From start to finish, the professionalism of the participants was unsurpassed and the logistical/organizational execution of the training scenarios was exemplary.
Sheriff Ahern indicated that there will be measures taken in the 2009 Urban Shield – planning for which has already begun – that build on the successes and correct the shortcomings of this weekend’s event. A 600-page after-action report is due out sometime soon and from it PoliceOne will examine some of the practical and tactical takeaways that law enforcement officers can use every day in the vigilant protection of our communities.
California Director of OHS Bettenhausen said, “This is how we can prevent the potential next terrorist attack, and if it does happen, we know that we’re ready to respond to it and whether that comes from domestic terrorism or it comes from international terrorism. The work that you have done makes this state and this nation safer and better prepared.”
Sheriff Ahern summarized it thusly: “There is a reason that we must plan, prepare and train. We have to practice our skills and test our equipment because there are things that occur in this world that we in law enforcement just cannot prevent. We also know that there is nothing that we won’t respond to once we’re called.”
If Urban Shield is any indication, the citizens of the communities in which these teams operate should feel supremely confident in their police.
 

Members of the Fremont PD, winners of last year's Urban Shield competition, breach the door, deploy the flash-bang, and make entry into the Alameda Co. Sheriff Dept. shoot-house.    (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
The shoot-house on the grounds of the Santa Rita jail is a multi-room complex divided into two main sections.  Site commanders, scenario evaluators and selected media watch the drill from a catwalk overhead. (PolceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
Members of Fremont PD SWAT encounter a number of Tangos including robots like this guy in the red shirt.                   (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
Team members from the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office approach a hostage-on-a-train situation on a Rook by the Spiller Group. The Rook is a SCBA compatible and fitted with NIJ Level III armor, which means it's an ideal vehicle to have around for armed barricaded subjects/hostage situations — the entire unit, including all four attachments are transported to incident sites on a trailer which is included in the package. (PoliceOne Photo/Rachel Fretz)
 
 
The Stanislaus team begins entry into an AMTRAK car.          (PoliceOne Photo/Rachel Fretz)
 
 
The Stanislaus team debriefs the scenario with the site commander. (PoliceOne Photo/Rachel Fretz)
 
 
The assault on this aircraft, which had been overtaken by suspected terrorists while it was being loaded by employees, was aided by this protoype vehicle provided by Blackwater Worldwide. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
This Tango had a very, very bad day.                            (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
With the mission accomplished, the team moves out to debrief the exercise in a nearby hangar at Oakland International Airport. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation discuss thier options to retake the USS Gibson, where an unknown number of subjects are downloading sensitive information from a computer in the ship's communications room. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
CDCR begin thier tactical assault on the Gibson.               (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
The CDCR team debriefs the op. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
At the closing ceremonies aboard the USS Hornet on Monday night, the past, present, and future of law enforcement come together as one. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
The Hornet is a museum and a memorial; this ACSO watercraft is at the ready for any eventuality. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)
 
 
Assistant Sheriff Steve Roderick opens the Final Exercise aboard the USS Hornet. (PoliceOne Photo/Doug Wyllie)

Participating Teams for 2008: 
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office 
Alameda Police Department 
Berkeley Police Department 
Boston Police Department 
California Department of Corrections 
California Highway Patrol 
City of San Francisco 
Federal Bureau of Investigation 
Fremont Police Department 
Hayward Police Department 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Police Department 
Livermore Police Department 
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s -Department 
Mountain View Police Department 
New York Police Department 
Newark Police Department 
Oakland Police Department 
Palo Alto Police Department 
Richmond Police Department 
Sacramento Police Department 
San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office 
San Francisco Police Department 
San Leandro Police Department 
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office 
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office 
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office
Supporting Agencies for Urban Shield 2008: 
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Communications Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Search and -Rescue Unit 
Alameda County Fire Department 
Alameda County Sheriff's Office 
Alameda Police Department 
Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority 
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District 
Albany Police Department 
American Medical Response (AMR) 
Amtrak 
Amtrak Police Department 
Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department 
Bay Area Super Urban Area Security Initiative 
Berkeley Police Department 
Boston Police Department 
California Army National Guard, 95th Civil Support Team (WMD) 
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 
California Highway Patrol 
Cal State University – East Bay 
CalTrans – CA Dept. of Transportation 
California State Sheriff's Association (CSSA) 
City of Alameda 
City of Berkeley 
City of Richmond 
City of San Francisco 
Chevron 
Cobalt 
Commission on Peace Officer Standards and -Training (P.O.S.T.) 
Community Improvement Commission 
Consulate General of Israel – San Francisco 
Denevi Video 
Deputy Sheriff's Association (DSA) 
Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) 
Dolphin Graphics 
East Bay Municipal Utilities District EBMUD 
East Bay Regional Parks Police Department 
Foster City Fire Department 
Fremont Police Department 
Federal Air Marshal Service 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 
FedEx 
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas 
Hayward Police Department 
Jet Blue Airways 
Livermore Police Department 
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office 
Marin County Sheriff's Office 
Menlo Park Fire Department 
Mountain View Police Department 
National Guard, 95th Civil Support Team (WMD) 
New York Police Department 
Newark Police Department 
Oakland International Airport 
Oakland Police Department 
Palo Alto Police Department 
Pleasanton Police Department 
Port Board of Commissioners 
Port of Oakland 
Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center (RTTAC) 
Retired Captain Eilers and the Air Squadron 
Richmond Police Department 
Ropemasters 
Sacramento Police Department 
San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office 
San Francisco Police Department 
San Francisco State University Police Department 
San Francisco Watershed District 
San Jose Police Department 
Transportation Safety Administration 
U.C. Berkeley Police Department 
U.S. Maritime Administration Division of 
-Pacific Operators 
Union City Police Department 
United States Air Force 
United States Army - Camp Parks 
United States Coast Guard 
United States Marine Corps 
United States Marshals Service 
United States Navy 
USS Hornet

As senior editor of PoliceOne, Doug Wyllie is responsible for the editorial direction of the PoliceOne website. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug writes on a broad range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

http://www.policeone.com/terrorism/articles/1735431-Urban-Shield-2008/
§Amerikan Nightmare
by Absolutely Revolting Thursday Oct 2nd, 2008 7:48 AM