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Terrorist attack drill held in Long Beach

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thousands of first responders from across California gathered in Long Beach on Wednesday for an exercise called Golden Guardian. The exercise was designed to test the state's readiness for a terrorist attack.

For a brief time on Wednesday, terrorists took over a portion of Long Beach Harbor. They took hostages, set off an improvised explosive device and generally ran amok until police arrived and put them out of action. Of course it wasn't real but real enough for emergency responders to practice their skills in an annual state sponsored drill called Golden Guardian.

"Since I come from the sports background, I've learned from a long time ago that practice makes perfect and the more you practice the better it is," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Officials who designed this drill say in the past they have been slow walking drills. This one they said was fast running.

The scenario had gunmen coming ashore by boat, shooting joggers and tourists that they encountered in Shoreline Park. They grabbed hostages before being isolated and shot by police.

"I'm on the Special Weapons and Tactics team and we got a report that there were some terrorists in the building and that there was a chemical weapon and we were told to go inside and clear it," said Officer Carlos Nava, Long Beach Police SWAT officer.

The drill in Long Beach is just one of dozens that were staged up and down the state on Wednesday. The emphasis this year was on port security. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies all took part, trying to make sure they worked smoothly and effectively together.

"Some would say by looking at this, it is an expensive operation, but we can't afford not to do it and we all I think hope for the best but we have to prepare for the worst," said Chief Jim McDonnell, Long Beach Police Department.

Long Beach and other west coast ports are considered natural targets for real terrorists because they're the engines of the region's economy. Officials insist they're now much better equipped and prepared to deal with an attack and drills like this, they say, prove it.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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terrorism, u.s. troops, lapd, department of homeland security, coast guard, arnold schwarzenegger, save money / consumer news, gene gleeson
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