Under the fluorescent lights of a vacant Sears department store near the state Capitol, officers from across the east Twin Cities metro area have been preparing for six weeks for potentially dangerous situations that could occur at a mass demonstration.
St. Paul police Cmdr. Tim Flynn has led 550 St. Paul officers and 250 others from agencies in Dakota, Washington and Ramsey counties through the training.
“When the civil unrest was happening, we needed people from all those counties and agencies within those counties to come help us with what was going on in the city,” Flynn said.
The St. Paul Police Department added the training to deal with a specific problem encountered last year. Firefighters had trouble responding to buildings on fire because of the volatile situation around them.
During the exercises, members of law enforcement, carrying wooden batons, practice moving back crowds, getting to injured or dangerous people within the crowd, and creating a small perimeter within which fire crews can safely work.