Urban Shield, a SWAT exercise and weapons convention held annually with Department of Homeland Security funding and coordinated by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, was held for the last time in its current form from September 6-10, 2018. The event has come under intense criticism for militarizing local police forces, cozy ties with weapons vendors and glorifying violent public safety response.
One of the 2018 SWAT team drills, which focused on dignitary protection and modeled a bomb going off by a motorcade has drawn fire from local Alameda residents, because it took place on Alameda Point Shoreline in land that was permanently ruled off-limits for development after the closure of the Naval facility. The section of Alameda Point where the exercise was held repeatedly over two days is owned by the Veterans Department and is zoned as a permanent wild life reserve for marine birds including terns who nest there. A memorandum of understanding between the US Navy and the VA and the City of Alameda specifically states that the nature reserve is not to be used for preparedness exercises.
A section of an Alameda Sheriff’s Department promotional video for Urban Shield details the Alameda Point dignitary protection exercise which contained a simunition bomb and gunfire along with actors portraying terrorists and injured victims. The exercises are repeated every hour or two over the course of two days with each participating SWAT team swinging through to re-run the exercise and compete against each other for points.