Civil unrest training in Lancaster Co. prepares responders for protests

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EAST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- It could happen anywhere: protests that turn violent, endangering first responders and civilians.

There are other ways protests could put those responders in harm's way.

Law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical officials went through training to learn how to manage protests in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, following the violent protest in Charlottesville.

Captain Adam Kosheba, Troop H Commander for Pennsylvania State Police, said, "It's a shame to see it has come to this in Central PA and across the United States. Unfortunately history seems to repeat itself and you're starting to see more and more of these protests coming up."

First responders said they are preparing for civil unrest to come up in our state.

Lancaster County Commissioner Dennis Stuckey said, "Lancaster County likes to think of itself as a bucolic setting with farms and small towns but we are not immune, we are not shielded from the outside world."

Their training involved "Field Force Extrication" to teach responders how to free protesters from devices they've attached themselves to without injuring either party.

Kosheba said, "There are certain methods to attack each device without putting any harm to the protester, and also the safety of us is paramount."

Lawmakers said in recent years, groups have developed new devices and tactics to further delay and challenge rescuers.

Officials want to make it known, they are only trying to keep everyone safe.

State Senator Scott Martin said, "They still are now being very proactive, recognizing that that could occur here and are trying to train themselves in a fashion that's not about taking sides it's about protecting our citizens and our community."



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