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'Riot Squad' trains for 'civil unrest' around town today
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Law enforcement officers and military personnel from at least six agencies will converge in Savannah today for a wide-ranging training exercise to "address civil unrest," a spokesman says.

The exercise "depicts a scenario that residents are returning to the area 24 hours after an evacuation order has been rescinded to find a multitude of unexpected issues. The lack of electrical power, food and water is amplified by protest groups, outside agitators, bomb threats and a riot at the county jail," the spokesman continues.

The training exercises will be centered in Grayson Stadium and Daffin Park and two "undisclosed areas." While most of the activity will be centered on those sites, the training will also involve emergency vehicles caravanning between them.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Mobile Field Force is hosting the exercise and measures have been taken to limit the inconvenience to the public.

“It’s unfortunate that area residents may find disruptions, but the only way to assure that officers are fully prepared for such situations is to participate in exercises such as this,” said Police Chief Julie Tolbert. “We will do our best to affect the public as little as possible.”

Lt. Harry Trawick, commander of the Mobile Field Force, said the exercise is complicated by many moving parts to simulate real-life situations.

“The Mobile Field Force (also known as the ‘riot squad’) is the last unit you want to see deployed, but when it is, it will be dealing with a multitude of issues at the same time. It is important that everyone be prepared for the situations they can face in such an event. Just like any sports team, the key to precision is intensive practice.”