It’s been two weeks since the Stop Urban Shield coalition rallied in Oakland, California against notorious SWAT-training and weapons expo, Urban Shield.
Check out our successful #StopUrbanShield press round up here!
But we're just getting started.
Tomorrow, September 29th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is set to sign off on an amendment to Sheriff Ahern’s two-year agreement with the Urban Areas Security Initiative (a Department of Homeland Security grant program) that funds SWAT trainings, including Urban Shield.
This year, one of the Urban Areas Security Initiative agreements is increasing to $6,289,697 for Fiscal year 2014-2016. We must let the Board of Supervisors know that we are watching Urban Shield, and all federal funding of militarized trainings more broadly (see sample text below.)
1) Call and email Board of Supervisors today!
Supervisor Haggerty// firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 272-6691
Supervisor Valle// email@example.com (510) 272-6692
Supervisor Chan// firstname.lastname@example.org (510)272-6693
Supervisor Miley// email@example.com (510)272-6694
Supervisor Carson// firstname.lastname@example.org (510)272-6695
2) If you are near Oakland, visit the BOS general meeting tomorrow 9.29 at 10:45 am and make a public comment at
1221 Oak Street, Room #555
Oakland, CA 94612
I am writing to urge you and all Alameda County Board of Supervisors to take leadership in putting an end to the militarization of police and disaster preparedness represented by the annual Urban Shield exercises and weapons display, funded by DHS through the Urban Areas Security Initiative. The emphasis on SWAT teams as the response to emergencies - including natural disasters - as well as the exclusive focus on worst-case violent scenarios, diminishes resources for responding to the ordinary emergencies community members face every day: inaccessible housing and medical care. It also reinforces an attitude that police are at war with communities, with people of color, poor and those with mental health issues bearing the worst brunt.Alameda County should not be hosting Department of Homeland Security funded events, which involve not only nine Bay Area counties, but teams from around the United States.That is why I ask you to not sign the amendment to increase the Urban Areas Security Initiative grant tomorrow, and to stand with Alameda County communities, and people across the nation, not federal agencies!
What is Urban Shield?
Urban Shield is a federally-funded program militarizing every aspect of society. With a budget of over $2 million, it hosts over 200 local, federal and international agencies, from health workers to law enforcement, for both tactical equipment sales and on-the-ground SWAT training operations. The four day convention features the latest in surveillance technology and weapons trade show which is followed by two days of war game training exercises throughout the Bay Area, from airports, maritime ports, to rapid transit. Urban Shield's budget comes from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a program in the Department of Homeland Security.
The Urban Shield convention not only attracts law enforcement from the local and national police departments and agencies, but also a hand fill of foreign law enforcement agencies from Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, Guam, South Korea, and Singapore. According to the Urban Shield website, the term "nexus to terrorism" is included for each training exercise.