Mock Prison Riot in Moundsville again draws national, global interest

Photo Provided Participants took part in 75 tactical training scenarios, including this riot response exercise, during the 2018 Mock Prison Riot at the old state penitentiary in Moundsville.

MOUNDSVILLE — More than 1,100 corrections and law enforcement officers participated in the 22nd annual mock prison riot at the former West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville.

The officers were from 30 states and 18 countries attending the correctional training and technology trade expo that showcases the latest tactics, techniques and technology. The four-day event that concluded May 2 is organized by the West Virginia Division of Corrections with the non-profit West Virginia Corrections Training Foundation.

“The Division of Corrections is pleased and proud to host this one-of-a-kind tactical and training opportunity for our correctional, law enforcement, and public safety partners from across the country and around the world,” Corrections Commissioner Betsy Jividen said. “Our staff, along with the West Virginia Corrections Training Foundation, is committed to providing participants with the opportunity to use the latest technology, take part in the most relevant and realistic training scenarios, and compete in the most challenging tactical courses and contests.”

As it did last year, the Michigan Department of Corrections took 1st Place in the Tactical Skills Team Competition. Senegal’s contingent won the Super Special Weapons and Tactics event. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections secured top honors in the sniper competition.

Thirty-one teams participated in the two-day skills competition while 35 teams executed 75 tactical training scenarios before the event concluded May 2. Other highlights include the multi-day technology trade show and the certification classes in less-lethal munitions, which can save agencies thousands of dollars.

Photo Provided Members of the Kentucky Department of Corrections Emergency Response Team navigate the obstacle course during the 2018 Mock Prison Riot at the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.

The international contingent included teams from Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia and Africa. Some of the teams were sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Heather Merritt, acting deputy assistant director of the bureau, also toured the 142-year-old prison-turned-training compound.

The annual Mock Prison Riot will continue under the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and its Bureau of Prisons and Jails, following the enactment of this year’s correctional consolidation legislation on July 1.

Photo Provided Paul Clark, a West Virginia Division of Corrections training instructor, left, demonstrates edged weapon survival tactics during the 2018 Mock Prison Riot at the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.


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