SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For two days, a combination of 100 Chatham County Police officers and Chatham County Sheriff’s deputies participated in what’s called Mobile Field Force Training.
The experience aims to prepare the agencies in supporting anti-riot operations.
The training, lead by Georgia Department of Corrections instructors, will help the officers and deputies use tactics that will break up crowds and remove anyone leading violent activity in a large crowd.
Chatham County Police Department Chief Jeff Hadley said, “It’s not the most desired assignment obviously, but they stepped up, they’re doing the right thing, and I really appreciate them and every sheriffs deputy that’s doing it as well.”
The officers and deputies are learning how to use less than lethal tools like shields and pepper ball guns and are fitted with riot gear.
Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher added, “We don’t want to do anything lethal with a gun or anything. We want...as you heard they say move and somebody was saying back. And you keep going forward, and that’s the way you get the job done. You push people back and separate them and try to make them go on about their way.”
Because of a demand nationally by other law enforcement agencies, the gear these officers and deputies are training in just recently came in.
“Once we began planning for that, so was everyone else in the country, so we had to wait for this equipment to get in. So this certainly isn’t a reaction to the election, or in anticipation of something relative to that. This is something that has gone all the way back to the summer from a planning perspective," said Chief Hadley.
Hadley also said, “If you get past the images, I think what the community should take comfort in is the collaboration of training, the thoughtfulness around being safe, keeping our community safe, keeping businesses safe if necessary, and that we’re doing it with the great partnership of the Sheriff’s Office.”