Urban Shield underway in Pleasanton with changes to address accusations it's militarized, racist

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- The police training seminar Urban Shield is underway in Pleasanton, and officials have made changes in response to protesters through the years who call it militarized and racist.

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"We are aware of their concerns and we want to address them. They didn't like that we had automatic weapons so this year we took out all displays that have automatic weapons at our vendor show," said Sheriff Greg Ahern.

At Friday's vendor show, ABC7 saw equipment on display like a portable jaws of life, tools to bust open doors and a drone killer. That device would be used to disrupt communication and send a drone home if someone is planning to use it to drop chemical agents or IEDs on a crowd.

There are also members of the community walking around at the conference. The committee was appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and is there to report anything they don't like.

"Anything people feel is culturally insensitive or shows a phobia to a group can be expressed and will be dealt with," said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the sheriff's office.

The Board of Supervisors has ordered that next year's event have even more changes. They want Urban Shield to be redefined with a bigger emphasis on natural disaster drills.
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