Partners Train Jointly on Response to a Complex Terrorist Attack
On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the FBI Seattle Division, Bellevue Police Department, and Bellevue Fire Department engaged in a training exercise that simulated a complex terrorist attack in a public venue. The exercise took place at Crossroads Bellevue Shopping Center at 8th Street and 156th Ave NE in Bellevue, Washington. The public may have noticed a large number of vehicles in the parking lot starting at 9 p.m. until about 2 a.m.
During the exercise, police exercised their first response capability with Bellevue Fire Department emergency medical services (EMS) providers, while the FBI tested its tactical, explosives-mitigation, and evidence collection skills. All agencies also practiced using what’s called “unified command” for making critical decisions, and they assessed their ability to communicate and share critical information using a variety of tools. Also involved in the exercise were personnel in a dozen other roles that support front line teams and investigations (such as intelligence analysts) as well as exercise controllers, command staff, and observers from partner agencies.
The exercise was not held in response to any current threat, but simply to provide a way for partner agencies to share information and train together.
“Exercises are essential for assessing our response plans and polishing our coordinated efforts,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Carlos L. Mojica of the FBI’s Seattle Division. “I appreciate our public and private sector partners in Bellevue collaborating with us to ensure we have a united and prepared security posture, ready to address the full spectrum of possible threats.”
“Unified command increases the efficiency and effectiveness of our response to incidents,” said Bellevue Police Department Chief Jim Montgomery. “During the exercise, our personnel demonstrated successful collaboration with our regional partners.”
Every effort was made to schedule Wednesday’s exercise so as not to interfere with normal mall operations.
FBI field offices nationwide are engaging in similar exercises with partners from state and local law enforcement, fire, EMS, and the private sector. These exercises comprise the final phase of a joint Complex Mall Attack Initiative developed by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to promote preparedness. As part of this initiative, 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.
“The Bellevue Fire Department works to support the efforts of our local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies,” said Bellevue Fire Department Chief Michael Eisner. “Training and planning for events that could impact a large segment of our community supports a better prepared response to very challenging scenarios.”
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. A related story on the FBI’s website provides more information about the exercises occurring around the nation.
This exercise was possible due to the invaluable partnership of Crossroads Management and Crossroads vendors.