Rockford Under Siege?

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

Hundreds of emergency personnel used parts of downtown Rockford to test themselves against different terrorist scenarios. Even though this was only a drill what they took from them was very real.

It looked like a scene from a movie, but instead this drama played out a potential terrorist attack on the streets of Rockford. It was meant to access the preparedness of local, state and federal emergencies agencies to see if they can handle an attack here.

"September eleventh taught us that people have the ability to dream and create horrific events that can happen here," said Jeff Morris, Rockford Deputy Police Chief.

In one scenario hundreds of people are overcome by a chemical release. The job of the responding departments is to access the situation, treat the wounded, and then contain it.

"It gives us a chance to set up an incident bigger than we're used to dealing with," said Bill Beaman, Rockford Fire Deputy Chief.

And it gives different agencies a chance to overcome the level of confusion that tends to accompany events of this magnitude.

"We're all used to operating on our own, but when you have a group like this you have to plan and coordinate your efforts, said Morris.

And communication is what they hope will teach them how to overcome a worse case scenario like this.

At the end of this month officials from each agency will evaluate their performance and see what worked and what didn't. Its a lesson in terrorism they hope will save lives.


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