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CCC and HDSP Take Part in Urban Shield Initiative

CCC/HDSP CRT members from left to right: Sgt E. Pentridge, Sgt R. Leslie, Sgt P. Davis, Sgt J. White, Sgt t M. Davis, Officer A. Darval, Sgt J. Ducasse, Sgt G. Brackett (not pictured CRT Commander Lt. M. DeForest, and CRT Strike Squad Leader Lt. D. Mendonca)
CCC/HDSP CRT members from left to right: Sgt E. Pentridge, Sgt R. Leslie, Sgt P. Davis, Sgt J. White, Sgt M. Johnston, Officer A. Darval, Sgt J. Ducasse, Sgt G. Brackett (not pictured CRT Commander Lt. M. DeForest, and CRT Strike Squad Leader Lt. D. Mendonca)

The California Correctional Center and High Desert State Prison Crisis Response Team recently had the opportunity to participate in Urban Shield, an urban area security initiative funded by Homeland Security and hosted by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern.

Urban Shield is a continuous 48-hour event where emergency medical services, fire rescue and local, state, federal and international law enforcement teams participate in a full-scale exercise. Urban Shield provided 35 realistic exercise scenarios, such as terrorist events and natural or manmade disasters.

CRT Commander Lt. Matt DeForest explains that, “It’s important to be involved with outside training venues to ensure our department and tactical teams stay abreast of industry standards, challenges and new concepts. The Crisis Response Team’s throughout the state have a large responsibility to protect and save lives during a critical incident at any one of our institutions.”

This year over 5,500 participants were involved with the massive exercise. Volunteers came from the community and included Bay Area residents, business owners, students, scout troops, the Google corporation and members of other organizations. Organizers say the involvement is critical to making this enormously complex and continuous 48-hour training exercise, which takes place across six counties, a success. The purpose is to enhance the skills and abilities of first responders and those responsible for managing large scale events.

CCC/HDSP CRT members during one of the full-scale exercises.
CCC/HDSP CRT members during one of the full-scale exercises.

The High Desert and CCC crisis team participated in 35 individual events ranging from Active Shooter/Immediate Action Team scenarios to detecting radiological devices or materials. The team arrived on September 5th, and received mission and safety briefings as well as an introduction to the latest technology to be used in the training scenarios.

“The Urban Shield event was extremely beneficial to the team members by providing realistic scenarios which they are evaluated by subject matter experts and provided feedback,” explained Lt. DeForest. “Team members were able to experience and utilize equipment that is otherwise not available during normal training venues.”

In addition, each team member completed a medical assessment and firearms qualification at the Alameda County Regional Training Center Range Facility.

The Urban Shield exercise gives our local CRT a chance to work and train side-by-side with outside agencies, practice that CRT Strike Squad Leader Lt. Dave Mendonca says helps the team learn many of the same, or similar, techniques used through the industry.

CRT members during a land navigation briefing.
CRT members during a land navigation briefing.

“The CCC/HDSP CRT Team has had the opportunity to train with outside agencies on many occasions,” said Mendonca. “We travel several times a year to different challenges and training venues. As new information or techniques becomes available we incorporate that into our training then practice until it becomes a habit.  During the ‘Challenged Events’ our style (tactics) are very much in line with the rest of other law enforcement agencies and more specifically SWAT operations.”

Lt. Mendonca also talked about the toughness of the training, “The difficulty of any challenge is based on individual circumstances, for some participants the rigorous physical training might be difficult, for everyone the challenge of staying up for 48 hours and actively addressing each scenario during Urban Shield was a challenge.  The team did conduct trainings which encompassed at least 32 hours straight.”

Mendonca also explained that gaining access to physical locations to train was an administrative challenge, “We accessed airports and utilized jet liners, we accessed churches which also helped to simulate theaters, time was spent in the shoot house, buses, schools and warehouses.  The team utilized tools already available to us to overcome and conquer obstacles in each of these environments.”

The CCC/HDSP team performed extremely well, finishing above sixteen other tactical teams.

CRT Commander Lt. DeForest thanked Warden Foulk and Warden Gower for their continued support.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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