12th Annual Mock Prison Riot Draws Attendees from Around the World
New Technologies and Canine Tracking Offered for the First Time Ever
Moundsville, W.Va. — Never before seen law enforcement and corrections technologies, canine tracking, and visitors from eight countries are just a few of the offerings at the 2008 Mock Prison Riot scheduled for May 11-14 at the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.
The Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization (OLETC), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Training and Technology Center (NCLETTC) and the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation (WVHTCF) annually host the Mock Prison Riot, which showcases emerging corrections and law enforcement technologies. The event helps determine the effectiveness of the technologies by placing them in realistic riot training scenarios and provides opportunities for end-users to offer suggestions for modification and feedback.
“This event is so important to the law enforcement and corrections community,” said Steve Morrison, Vice President of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Group of the WVHTCF. “By coming here and deploying the various technologies in their training scenarios, law enforcement and corrections practitioners have the ability to shape the future of their industry. They can make recommendations to modify and improve the very tools they need to do their jobs in a safe and effective manner.”
So far, law enforcement and corrections practitioners from nearly 40 states and eight countries including Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Venezuela, El Salvador and the Bahamas are registered to attend. Attendees must be sworn law enforcement and corrections, military, government, or education officials in order to attend the Mock Prison Riot. The event is not open to the general public.
“People from around the world look to this event for cutting-edge technologies and tactics,” Morrison said. “There is no other event like this in the world. The folks who come here are always amazed by the overall experience and the camaraderie that exists among our staff, the teams and technologists.” An ideal setting for the Mock Prison Riot, the former Penitentiary was decommissioned in 1995 and has been used by the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC) and the NCLETTC for historical and educational and training purposes respectively.
Officials from a host of federal agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the U.S. Marshal Service, and various federal laboratories and military installations also are expected to attend.
For the first time ever, attendees will be able to view canine tracking scenarios, one in a wooded area near the prison compound and one in the community involving the volunteer fire department’s facilities.
“It’s not too often that we venture out from behind the walls for this event,” Morrison said. “But we received a special request for some canine tracking this year. A team from Florida is bringing their non-aggressive bloodhound. Our staff looked into the logistics and, happily, we are able to accommodate the team’s needs regarding technology and terrain. We are very excited to add this new dimension to the Riot.”
One other way the Mock Prison Riot staff ventures beyond the walls is through the Command March, which is scheduled for Monday, May 12, 2008. At the 2007 Mock Prison Riot, teams from law enforcement and corrections organizations participated in a one-mile march through the streets of Moundsville. Carrying their organizational and state flags and dressed in their duty gear, they passed three schools and the central business district. School officials used the opportunity to integrate the Command March into career planning initiatives and spent time with students discussing career paths for law enforcement and corrections. The march was so well received that the Mock Prison Riot staff decided to hold one for 2008.
“The Mock Prison Riot is not an event that is open to the general public; however, the Command March is one way we can get the schools and local community involved,” Morrison said. “Last year, the feedback from the teams who marched was very positive. They especially enjoyed seeing the kids out there.”
In addition to the technology showcase, demonstrations, scenarios, and Command March, a multitude of free workshops, many of them resulting in certifications, will be offered throughout the course of the Mock Prison Riot. Instructors come from all over the country and the world to teach workshops on various less lethal technologies, tactics, and leadership issues.
“Law enforcement and corrections agencies do not have deep pockets,” Morrison said. “We do what we can to ensure that they make the most of their time here. When they go home from here, they really have a lot to show for it.”
For more information regarding the Mock Prison Riot, please contact Cindy Barone or Sharon Goudy at 888.306.5382 or visit www.oletc.org.