The Alameda County Sheriff's Office, located near Oakland, California, recently held its annual Urban Shield anti-terrorism training exercise. This year’s event drew both national and international participants, including teams from Jordan, Israel, and the Chicago Police Department.
The four-day exercise, aimed at protecting urban, populated areas, tests teams' communication, planning and execution skills under life-or-death situations, and is the largest of its kind in the United States. Teams face a variety of scenarios held in various locations in the Bay Area, including a chemical agent dispersal exercise, an active shooter situation, a hostage rescue on the Bay Bridge, a courtroom takeover by a terrorist group, and an airplane hijacking.
The event requires a nearly a full year of planning and costs around $1.3 million to produce. Despite this significant effort and cost, these types of exercises provide first responders with an essential skill set as well as the opportunity to learn from other law enforcement and military personnel who have encountered terrorist acts first-hand. Organizers hope to bring the Urban Shield program to other parts of the country and the world in the coming years.
In addition to having a strong security program with the appropriate technologies and training for your security team at your plant, a public private partnership is essential to minimize the impact of a potential terrorist threat. It’s always a good idea to foster closer relationships with first responders and even invite them to your plant in advance of any incidents.
~ Ryan Loughin
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