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Realism in Training: Annual Mock Riot Is Believable

NCJ Number
CTM-Corrections Technology & Management Volume: 5 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2001 Pages: 24-29
Jim Topham
Date Published
6 pages
Through an interview with the acting executive director of the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Technology and Training Center (NCLETTC), Steve Morrison, this article reviews the features and the future of an annual mock riot in the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville for the purpose of training corrections personnel in responding to an inmate riot.
Three Federal agencies -- the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization, the National Institute of Justice, and the NCLETTC -- host an annual mock riot in the former West Virginia Penitentiary. The mock riot showcases emerging corrections and law enforcement technologies and gives corrections officers and tactical team members an opportunity to use and evaluate new technologies in realistic riot training scenarios. The event helps determine the effectiveness of the new technologies by placing them in realistic situations, and it allows for suggestions for modification of the technology. It also provides corrections personnel from throughout the country significant training in how to best approach and handle a riot situation. This year's event attracted more than 1,350 people from 35 States and four countries; 77 technologies were showcased from a wide variety of manufacturers, entrepreneurs, investors, and Federal laboratories. The technologies were related to officer protection, less lethal tools, communications, night vision, facial identification, and location/tracking devices. In addition, 32 workshops were conducted this year, and the new ideas were incorporated in many of the training scenarios as well as demonstrated in the prison yard. Teams from 15 States participated in 36 scenarios that ranged from an inmate disturbance in the yard, staff being taken hostage in the office, inmate refusal to leave his cell, a food fight in the dining hall, and inmates missing in the basement. The Moundsville Center is gearing up to become a state-of-the-art, year-round training facility. The interview with Steve Morrison focuses on the training policies and programs anticipated at the Moundsville Center.