FBI Cleveland
Special Agent Vicki D. Anderson
(216) 522-1400
May 1, 2014

FBI, in Partnership with DHS, to Host Comprehensive Incident Threat Response Exercise

The Cleveland Field Office of the FBI will host a training exercise to simulate a complex terrorist attack in a public venue. The exercise will take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014, beginning at 5:00 a.m. at the SouthPark Mall in Strongsville, Ohio.

The FBI and DHS will partner with representatives from state and local law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services (EMS), and the private sector to execute the final phase of the Complex Mall Attack initiative, which was developed to promote preparedness. In 2013, all FBI field offices hosted facilitated discussions with public safety and private sector partners that focused on preparedness, response, and recovery efforts necessary to effectively address a complex attack. The FBI is committed to strengthening public safety and private sector partnerships necessary to protect the United States and its citizens.

Every effort has been made to schedule this exercise so as not to interfere with normal mall operations. The public may see law enforcement activity at SouthPark Mall on May 4, 2014 from 5:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and is asked to avoid the mall property during this time. SouthPark Mall will continue its regularly scheduled Sunday retail hours.

The FBI has an Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Incidents web page as a resource for law enforcement and the public to learn more about critical incidents involving mass casualties.

“In today’s world, it is imperative that law enforcement, emergency personnel, and private sector partners train and collaborate through scenarios involving potential attacks,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Division. “Starwood Retail, the owner of SouthPark Mall, has been more than accommodating to allow officials the opportunity to engage in training that simulates actual events requiring a coordinated response by many entities.”

“Our participation in this training exercise demonstrates the importance that we put on safety in this community,” said Thomas Perciak, mayor of Strongsville. “In addition to SouthPark Mall, the city of Strongsville is regional headquarters for several major companies. Providing the best safety service response for our residents, schools, businesses, and visitors is critical. Our partnering with the FBI in this training exercise acknowledges the fact that safety forces on the federal, state, and local levels must work together to provide the most competent response to a critical incident.”

“I am appreciative of the commitment that the FBI has displayed in addressing joint training with local law enforcement,” said Jim Kobak, Strongsville chief of police. “Preparing for active shooter and terrorist-related threats has become such a focal point in our police readiness that this type of training cannot be overlooked, nor can we afford to become complacent. This exercise is an example of the cooperation the FBI has with local law enforcement to better prepare communities for events such as these. As a local police chief, it brings a certain comfort level knowing that I have resources at the federal level to count on.”

“Our management staff, security teams, and merchants take these training scenarios very seriously,” said Kurt Reddick, SouthPark Mall general manager. “We understand the need for readiness and these scheduled exercises led by our law enforcement partners help all of us prepare for potential community emergencies. Thank you to everyone for their patience during this event.”

Participating agencies include: FBI Cleveland Division and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Strongsville Mayor’s Office, Strongsville Police Department, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Strongsville Fire/EMS Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cuyahoga County Emergency Management Agency, North East Regional Fusion Center, Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Verizon, Professional Security Consultantsm and Starwood Retail Property.

Any questions regarding this press release and this training exercise can be directed to Special Agent Vicki D. Anderson at (216) 522-1400 or Vicki.anderson@ic.fbi.gov.