Urban Shield Training Exercise in Alameda County to Spark Protest

A training exercise for the controversial Urban Shield program is expected to be met with opposition in the East Bay.

The weekend's exposition at the Alameda County Sheriff's Office of Homeland Security is called "Training Together, Responding as One," but protesters, who will gather in Oakland at 4 p.m. Friday, say Urban Shield promotes militarized police forces, teaching officers to act more like soldiers in their communities.

The people behind Urban Shield, however, say their goal is to test the training and coordination among regional first-responders.  

This year, the focus is on mass care and shelter. In 2016, an earthquake simulation tested how law enforcement agencies distribute necessary goods. In 2015, coordinated terrorist attacks examined their evacuation preparedness and in 2013, a passenger train crash simulation analyzed their response to mass fatalities.

Berkeley city leaders in June voted in favor of extending the Police Department’s participation in Urban Shield — and their decision was an unwelcome one.

Just last week, President Donald Trump made it easier for local law enforcement agencies to get their hands on surplus military equipment, adding fuel to the ongoing debate in the Bay Area.

Check back for updates.

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