Hundreds of regional leaders train for response to terrorism and mass casualty incidents

Twin Cities one of 14 locations to host training nationwide

BY JONATHAN YOUNG

Sun POST Newspapers

 

A Hennepin County Sheriff's Office honor guard presents colors Aug. 27 in Brooklyn Park. (Sun staff photo by Jonathan Young)

A Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office honor guard presents colors Aug. 27 in Brooklyn Park. (Sun staff photo by Jonathan Young)

More than 50 terrorist attacks against the U.S. have been foiled since Sept. 11, 2001, according to J. Chris Warrener, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis division, which is based in Brooklyn Center.

“Most Americans really have no idea how often they are prevented,” he said.

Warrener addressed his remarks to an audience of approximately 375 public and private leaders in counterterrorism, law enforcement and the medical community Aug. 27. They represented dozens of city, county, state and federal agencies.

Kathleen Fox, deputy assistant administrator of the National Preparedness Directorate of FEMA, speaks to about 375 leaders in counterterrorism, law enforcement and medical response Aug. 27 in Brooklyn Park. (Sun staff photo by Jonathan Young)

Kathleen Fox, deputy assistant administrator of the National Preparedness Directorate of FEMA, speaks to about 375 leaders in counterterrorism, law enforcement and medical response Aug. 27 in Brooklyn Park. (Sun staff photo by Jonathan Young)

The leaders had gathered at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park for an intensive two-day training seminar about responding to terrorism and mass-casualty incidents. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office hosted the event in partnership with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Topics covered included bombings, injury patterns and care, tactical emergency casualty care and case studies on the Boston Marathon bombing and the Aurora Colorado shooting.

The Twin Cities area is one of 14 locations nationwide to host the training.

Although people often don’t think about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the Twin Cities, Warrener says the danger is real.

“It’s possible,” he said. “You can’t predict what these people are going to do.”

The seminar was a virtual, scenario-based training that helped agencies develop a regional response to potential threats.

Members of the law enforcement community say the pledge of Allegiance Aug. 27 during a brief opening ceremony at a counterterrorism training workshop in Brooklyn Park.

Members of the law enforcement community say the pledge of Allegiance Aug. 27 during a brief opening ceremony at a counterterrorism training workshop in Brooklyn Park.

“We’re testing ourselves in worst-case scenarios,” Warrener said. Doing so helps uncover weaknesses before it’s too late, he explained.

“The purpose of this training is to improve the way we work together and to construct an effective regional approach to emergency preparedness,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “We use the lessons learned from recent mass casualty incidents, and we identify resources and collaborative partnerships for public safety planning.”

“We absolutely have to work together to be successful,” Warrener said.

In the Twin Cities, many of the relationships among regional partners already exist, Warrener said. He meets with Stanek and other leaders at least monthly.

Since Warrener took over operations of the FBI’s Minneapolis division a little more than a year ago, he said he has been welcomed by the community with “open arms.” In addition to monthly meetings, he builds relationships with local leaders informally by going to dinner or a Twins game.

“The most important thing that we’re going to have in a crisis is our relationships,” Warrener said.

 

Contact Jonathan Young at jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com

 
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