FBI's Portland Division co-hosts threat response exercise

The FBI's Portland Division co-hosted a major field exercise on Wednesday night with its local partners to test the response of law enforcement to a simulated terrorist attack.

The division joined the Tigard Police Department and the Washington Square Mall to collectively share information and train together. All FBI field offices throughout the U.S. started hosting facilitated discussions last year with public safety and private sector partners on preparedness, response and recovery efforts necessary to address terrorist attacks.

"Recent incidents at public venues-both in the United States and elsewhere-underscore the need for public safety and private sector partners to train together and to identify best practices," Gregory Bretzing, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said. "Coordination and communication are critical to saving lives in the kind of attack we tested."

The overnight training session was part of the current phase of the FBI's Complex Mall Attack Initiative. The initiative was developed to promote preparedness and strengthen public/private partnerships.

"Now more than ever, partnerships with law enforcement, such as the FBI, are integral in maintaining safe and livable communities," Alan Orr, the chief of the Tigard Police Department, said. "Equally important are the community partnerships which serve to further strengthen our cities and make them safer. We appreciate the assistance provided by the Portland FBI and Washington Square Mall during (Wednesday's) exercise."

During the exercise, the FBI tested its tactical, explosives, evidence collection and hostage negotiation response skills while Tigard Police tested its first response capability with Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. All the agencies practiced using unified command to make critical decisions.