Magazine article Corrections Forum

Mock Prison Riot 2017: TACTICAL SKILLS & PRODUCTS ON DISPLAY

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Mock Prison Riot 2017: TACTICAL SKILLS & PRODUCTS ON DISPLAY

Article excerpt

Teams of corrections and law enforcement personnel will be going head-to-head by putting their training skills to the test during the annual Mock Prison Riot (MPR) to be held April 30-May 3 on the grounds of the decommissioned West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, W.V.

This spring four-day event is a comprehensive law enforcement and corrections tactical and technology experience that also offers 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, training scenarios, technology demonstrations, certification workshops, a skills competition, and unlimited opportunities for feedback, networking, and camaraderie on a global scale.

"The Mock Prison Riot features hands-on training and technology exposure to corrections, law enforcement, military, and public safety practitioners from around the world," comments Sharon Goudy, project manager for the MPR. "At the MPR, exhibitors and operators work together in a living, breathing environment, continually pushing the envelopes of tactics and technology."

She points out that the event consists of several moving parts, including the exhibit hall, workshops and lectures, technology demonstrations, and multiple tactical training scenarios of small, medium, and larger scales. "There also is a strong networking component. Teams come from all over the United States and the world, many with the same concerns and issues. They are all very receptive to talking with one another and learning from one another. It also facilitates the 'marriage' of technology developers/exhibitors and end users."

Emerging Trends and Issues

Goudy adds that over the past few years, the use of drones for nefarious purposes has been a significant issue for prisons across the U.S. and the world. Also, safely and effectively managing civil unrest continues to be an important concern. "The MPR focuses on preparedness for these and other issues. In addition, the event always offers some core basic certification classes on less lethal technology such as smoke, chemical deployment, and defensive tactics. The Mock Prison Riot's roots are less lethal and have remained so throughout the event's 20-year history."

Corrections teams can register as observers or as actual participants for the same low price of $25. In addition to watching all the scenarios, observers can participate in manufacturer-run and sponsored training, workshops as well as instructor certification courses. Participating teams can submit up to two scenarios, select a location in which it is to occur (either a cellblock, dining hall, recreation yard or office). They also have the option to deploy any vendor's equipment during actual tactical training scenarios. "The MPR team assures that all of this is conducted safety and role players follow what's scripted," she adds.

Reality-based Scenarios

Major Ronnie Williams, chief of Special Operations WV Division of Corrections and MPR's skills competition and MPR safety/subject matter expert, reports that teams should expect to conduct reality-based scenarios with their sole focus being on the training objectives they have established. "The event and venue allow teams to utilize all of their personnel in the roles they would serve in a real world event. It can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to conduct scenarios of the size, complexity and scale available at MPR, at the local level.

"To conduct safe and effective reality-based training for teams, it takes considerable personnel commitment to fill the roles of safety officers, role players and scenario coordinators. For many teams, that may limit the participation of team members who actually get to participate as the student(s)," he adds.

Williams points out that the purpose of reality-based training is to provide individuals and teams the opportunity to encounter stressful situations in a safe, controlled environment.

"Through these situations, trainers and command staff can identify deficiencies and provide immediate corrections-the goal being to conduct the scenario(s) until the individual or team has completed all tasks and objectives to an acceptable standard. …

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