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"Operation Heat Shield" Keeps Officers Prepared In Urban Training Drill

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Around certain key locations in South Florida on Saturday, law enforcement and other government agencies around town are carrying out training exercises designed to keep the community safe in case of a catastrophic event, both man-made or natural.

The drill has been dubbed "Operation Heat Shield" with coordinated exercises taking place at Miami International Airport, Marlins Park, the courthouse, schools and several other facilities.

Operation Heat Shield - Training Exercise
Officers run a training exercise at the Government Center in Miami during "Operation Heat Shield." (Source: Miami-Dade Police Dept.)

Camera crews were allowed access to certain events. The first of which, occurring at the Government Center in Miami located at 111 N.E. 1st Street.

Officers in full tactical gear were seen taking defensive positions inside the building's central lobby area, during what appeared to be a shooter-hostage situation. They used the surrounding furniture to shield themselves from potential threats and gunfire, applying tactical coordination to place themselves in an ideal spot while bad guys in camouflage caused trouble deeper inside the building.

"With this particular operation, what we're doing is testing our resources," said Troy Walker, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Miami office. "This is a full-scale exercise which encompasses law enforcement, emergency management, fire rescue."

Walker said the collaborative effort is critical in these kinds of large scope operations.

"We have over 21 agencies that are participating in this event, with about nine to eleven locations with various scenarios," he said. "The scenarios, very much so, mirror what we see on a daily basis, not only on the national news but world news."

Those scenarios include things like active shooters to acts of terrorism and other mass casualty situations.

"We're always looking at preparedness. But there's another side of that which is prevention peace," Walked added. "When these events actually occur, we want to ensure that we have all resources and assets properly trained. And we can actually handle and manage things appropriately to ensure the safety of our citizens in South Florida."

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