These photos were produced by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in response to a public records request for photos of the 2017 war games exercise. These are culled from over 300 photos showing officers from the Homeland Security Investigations division of ICE being trained in SWAT techniques by Alameda County during Urban Shield 2017.
Alameda’s training of the ICE division was done without the knowledge of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which accepts funding for the event from the Department of Homeland Security and whose Sheriff’s Department coordinates the event. The City of San Francisco is the fiscal sponsor for funding intermediary Bay Area UASI.
In January of 2017, Alameda County convened a large task force to review Urban Shield’s impact on Bay Area communities and recommend reforms. That task force, which observed the event extensively, was also not aware of HSI/ICE participation in 2017.
Several Bay Area cities and counties are in a pitched battle with the Trump Administration to protect their sanctuary status, including Santa Clara County, San Francisco County and the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Jose. After an HSI raid in West Oakland in August of 2017 was demonstrated to have resulted in a civil deportation, the City of Oakland firmly cut off any municipal law enforcement cooperation of any kind with any ICE division.
A selection of photographs, taken by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department for promotional and documentation purposes is below. The full photo set is available upon request. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to proceed with the 2018 Urban Shield funding grant on March 27.
The revelation of secretive HSI/ICE participation (ICE was not listed on the Urban Shield website as a participating agency) follows a series of disturbing incidents at the event, including the presence of the Oath Keepers vigilante extremism group in an Urban Shield-branded community fair giving out literature to the public in an Alameda County Sheriff’s Department pavillion, the use of vendor Strategic Operations in secret after the Alameda Board of Supervisors vetoed the vendor due to blatant racial stereotyping on their website and community uproar about “Black Rifles Matter” t-shirts being sold at the Urban Shield Expo disparaging and threatening the Black Lives Matter movement.
Homeland Security Investigations raided Santa Cruz and West Oakland in 2017 and Berkeley in March of 2018.