In the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri riots and protests that have been mounted against the so-called “militarization” of local police forces around the country, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan wrote on Facebook that Urban Shield, a four-day trade show and training exercise held for law enforcement and emergency crews, will not be allowed in Oakland in the future, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Urban Shield is funded by the federal government to the tune of $1 million, and normally hosts roughly 200 law enforcement organizations comprised of city and county police agencies, along with emergency crews including nurses and ambulance worker.
But on Friday in Oakland, hundreds of protesters decried the part of the show featuring heavy weapons.
Quan prefaced her rejection of Urban Shield by writing on Facebook, “It’s important to note that OPD has no military surplus hardware at all, and no fully-automatic weapons.”
Then she continued, “As to Urban Shield itself: Urban Shield is a regional preparedness training exercise for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services and has been held in Oakland for the past two years. The event will not be held in Oakland next year. The City Administrator’s Office will be asking our agent not to pursue another contract.”
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which supervises the conference, fired back. Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, snapped:
Mayor Quan has had little to no involvement with Urban Shield. She does not have the authority to tell Urban Shield or anyone that they can’t come into the City of Oakland. We recognize that she can influence the Oakland convention center, but we find it amazing that the mayor of Oakland does not want better training for the cities’ first responders nor the hotel tax revenue, sales tax revenue, and low crime rate in the downtown area that Urban Shield and its 5,000-plus attendees has provided in the last few years to the City of Oakland.
Urban Shield was originated by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office eight years ago. Nelson added that if Oakland rejects Urban Shield, they will be “more than happy to bring these benefits to some other area.”