Air National Guard holds crowd control drill

Air National Guard hosts crowd control drill

Dozens of people took part in an exercise at Lake Tobesofkee with the Georgia Air National Guard and other emergency response teams.

The scenario was a simulated disaster hit Macon-Bibb County earlier in the week.

“It’s been two days and we need supplies for the baby, and we don't have supplies for the baby, and we're upset about not having supplies,” Kerry Hatcher said.

He is just one of the dozens of volunteers who lined up during the Air National Guard training exercise at the lake. They lined to up receive emergency supplies.

“They didn’t have enough or they didn’t have the right kind and we got upset,” Hatcher said.

That’s when they started to riot.

“A couple of times we got into a chant,'We want food, we want food,'” Hatcher said.

When things started to get out hand, Bibb Sheriff's deputies and the Air National Guard stepped in to control the crowd. That was the focus of the drill.

“We do have to practice for the worst case scenario, and the worst case scenario is a crowd getting a little bit out of control,” Air National Guard General Jesse Simmons said. “That's why we have it to keep everybody safe, we really don't need a disturbance like that.”

Macon-Bibb EMA Director Spencer Hawkins says joint training with the Bibb first responders is vital to efficient responses during disasters so they aren't learning on the job.

“The National Guard and the military will train a certain way, and the Bibb Sheriff’s Office will train a certain way,” Hawkins said. “We need to make sure that training matches so when we do come together as a team, we’re all speaking the same language. We're all talking the same information so when something does happen.”

Hatcher says that training works even if it was just a drill.

“To see this line of soldiers with their shields and they're doing their step training coming at you, it's intimidating,” Hatcher said.

It's training they hope to never have to use, but are ready if they have to.

The training drill in Macon was part of a larger emergency preparedness exercise known as the Vigilant Guard.


About 8,000 people participated statewide.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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