November 13, 2007
Bay Area In Action: Urban Shield Program
Testing the Limits of Local Law Enforcement
For 50 consecutive hours earlier this fall, over 1,000 law enforcement tactical teams across the nation and throughout California competed in Urban Shield, a rigorous training event designed to assess their capabilities during a sustained series of simulated incidents. The Bay Area SUASI contributed funding to the exercise.
Participants gathered from various locations in California and across the nation to face the challenge. In addition to sending law enforcement personnel to participate in the event, both Alameda County and San Mateo County activated their Emergency Operation Centers for the duration of the training. With 22 different real-world scenarios – ranging from an inmate uprising at a city jail, to a hostage situation on a commercial airliner, to a surface-to-air missile attack – participants rated Urban Shield as one of the most realistic training exercises in which they had ever participated.
The Bay Area-based exercise was coordinated by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Tactical teams from the following agencies participated in the Urban Shield exercise: the Sheriffs’ Offices of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Stanislaus Counties; the Police Departments of Alameda County, the cities of Berkeley, Boston, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Newark, Oakland, Pleasanton, Sacramento, and San Leandro and UC Berkeley; the California Department of Corrections, the California Highway Patrol, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, and the United States Coast Guard.
Urban Shield was developed after 9/11 to test regional emergency response capabilities through the implementation of the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The program is designed to challenge regional capabilities for tactical operations and chemical, biological, radiological, and high-yield explosive weapons detection, response, and decontamination. The exercise also promotes regional collaboration by strengthening information sharing, testing interoperable communications capabilities, and improving emergency operations planning.