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For Immediate Release
October 03, 2018

Nearly 120 Law Enforcement Officers from Across New York State Conduct Cutting-Edge Training Based on Real-World Events at Excelsior Challenge

Annual Exercise Brings State’s Bomb Technicians, Explosive Detection Canine Teams and Tactical Teams Together for Training

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced that nearly 120 law enforcement officers from across the state participated in cutting-edge training to address current threats at the 4th annual Excelsior Challenge at the State Preparedness Training Center. Participants, including FBI-certified bomb technicians, explosive detection canine handlers and tactical team operators, formed seven task forces to respond to seven scenarios inspired by real-world events during the two and a half-day exercise. This year’s Excelsior Challenge, held October 2-4, had the largest number of participants in its history.

 

“The annual Excelsior Challenge helps increase operational coordination and communication among the state’s bomb squads, explosive detection canine teams and tactical teams,” said Roger L. Parrino, Sr., Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “This type of cooperation is critical given the complexity of recent events in New York, across the U.S., and throughout the world.”

 

This year’s Excelsior Challenge involved the support of 45 instructors from agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Navy, as well as nearly 30 student role-players from the University at Albany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. The exercise also received support from the four main offices at the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services: the Office of Counter Terrorism; the Office of Fire Prevention and Control; the Office of Emergency Management, and the Office of Interoperable Emergency Communications.

 

2018 Scenarios: The State Preparedness Training Center coordinated with the New York State Intelligence Center to identify seven core scenarios for the 2018 Excelsior Challenge:

  • Active Shooter at an Outdoor Concert: This scenario is based on the 2017 Harvest Concert shooting in Las Vegas and featured nearly 50 role players.

  • Active Shooter at a High School: This scenario is based on the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida. It featured student role players from the University at Albany College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and a local BOCES program.

 

  • Weaponized Drone Scenario: This scenario involved the location of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) found on a drone in a rural area. Bomb squads had to render the device safe (which also featured a radiological component), while tactical teams were challenged by a drone swarm (provided by Mohawk Valley Community College’s Drone Team) while the tactical teams prepared to issue a high-risk warrant for the suspect.

 

  • Mail-Based Bombing Campaign: This scenario was inspired by the 2018 Austin bombings and featured devices across multiple locations at the training center.

 

  • Maritime Scenario: This scenario featured an insider threat attack at a wastewater treatment plant simulated at the new, first-of-its-kind in the nation Swift Water/Flood Rescue training facility.

 

  • Bomb found on Train Tracks: This scenario was inspired by a recent event in Saratoga County, where a pipe bomb was found on train tracks.

 

  • High-Profile Criminal Trial: This scenario featured an attack at a high-profile criminal trial. It featured two real courts officers who provided initial incident response, along with 20 role players from the National Guard.

  

Agencies participating in the 2018 Excelsior Challenge:

 

Agency

Bomb Squad

EDC

Tactical Team

 

Buffalo Police Department

 

X

X

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office

X

X

 

Endicott Police Department

X

 

 

Erie County Sheriff’s Office

X

X

X

Greene County Sheriff’s Office

 

 

X

Gloversville Police Department

 

 

X

Ithaca Police Department

 

 

X

Johnstown Police Department

 

 

X

Kingston (City) Police Department

 

 

X

Madison County Sheriff’s Office

 

X

X

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

 

X

X

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

X

X

 

Nassau County Police Department

X

X

X

New Hartford Police Department

 

 

X

New Rochelle Police Department

 

X

X

New York Police Department (NYPD)

X

X

 

New York State Police (NYSP)

X

X

 

Niagara County Sheriff’s Office

 

X

 

Oneida County Sheriff’s Office

 

X

 

Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office

X

X

X

Orange County Sheriff’s Office

 

X

X

Peel Regional Police (Canada)

X

 

 

Rochester Police Department

 

X

 

Rockland County Sheriff’s Office

X

 

 

Suffolk County Police Department

X

X

X

Syracuse Police Department

X

 

 

Troy Police Department

 

X

 

Utica Police Department

 

X

X

Westchester County Police Department

X

X

X

White Plains Police Department

 

X

X

 

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services  provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

 

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