Does Urban Shield help or harm?
Mass shootings, natural catastrophes, hostage situations — all of these will be taking place in Alameda County this weekend. But don’t worry! They're all a part of elaborate mock scenario drills for the 10th annual Urban Shield, one of the largest law enforcement training exercises in the country.
Firemen, medics, and police officers from across the country will gather for first-hand training for our worst nightmares— training that proponents say is necessary. Urban Shield, however, has also been opposed for being a model of how to militarize the police.
Omar Ali works with The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), one of the 43 organizations protesting this year’s Urban Shield event.
ALI: It continues to criminalize and militarize our communities . . . it inspires this big military mentality of our government.
Public Information officer JD Nelson responded to some of these criticisms, and says they hear the concerns of the community.
NELSON: We don't get to pick and choose our calls. So when someone says hey, this is happening, we don't get to say 'well, let's just call the military for that one.' Because the public wouldn't accept that.
To listen to the full interviews from both Omar Ali and JD Nelson, click on the sound files above. You can also hear more about Urban Shield from our coverage in 2014 here.