Local News

First Responders Take Part In State's Largest Terrorism Drill

Posted May 12, 2005 2:46 a.m. EDT

— Authorities and emergency workers from across the state are in Raleigh for the largest terrorism drill in the history of North Carolina.

In Thursday's drill, terrorists posing as caterers took a police officer hostage at Carter-Finley Stadium. They detonated chemical weapons, injuring people in the stands and causing a major evacuation.

The drill is designed to show what law enforcement agencies and emergency responders can do and what they need to do better.

Raleigh Police Chief Jane Perlov said there is no room in today's world for complacency about terrorism.

"I don't think anyone in the country is immune to terrorism. It's ignorant to say we are," she said.

The drill was budgeted to cost $500,000, but they said they have only spent about $360,000 of that money. It is mostly being paid for by a federal Homeland Security grant doled out by the state's Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.

Thursday's drill is the largest non-military disaster drill in the history of the state, with nearly 500 people and 17 agencies involved.

In December, more than 150 law enforcement officers swarmed the state government complex to train for a terrorist attack. While there, they found a real suspicious package and the training was called off.

In November, a drill in Harnett County went a little smoother. The drill involved terrorists taking over a packed gym at Campbell University with college students playing the victims.

In July, in a drill at RDU International, the mock casualties were on a larger scale. Fifteen agencies had to work together to unload victims from a military plane and get them to local hospitals.