CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -- Multinational Battle Group East’s A Company, 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry trained with the Kosovo police from Ferizaj/Urosevac in a joint exercise, July 28.
The training occurred at the Bill Clinton Sports Complex in Ferizaj/Urosevac that highlighted proper Crowd and Riot Control techniques.
Elements from the 296th, the 544th Military Police Company, and the Kosovo Police served as demonstrators while other A Company soldiers stood by with their riot gear ready to support the KP if necessary.
The exercise began with a simulated protest by the simulated demonstrators. After a brief discussion with the KP to air complaints, the demonstrators marched past the first line of KP officers, where they were met the KP Operational Special Unit (OSU) in riot control gear.
The demonstration began to escalate beyond the KP’s control as the demonstrators began throwing water bottles and simulated stones at the KP officers. One rioter threw a garbage can at the line of CRC officers.
Things seemed to be getting out of hand when the demonstrators”began kicking and grabbing riot shields, but soon enough, the CRC-equipped KP successfully detained a few of the more aggressive demonstrators.
After the crowd became more rambunctious and simulated shots were fired the KP called for the assistance of NATO Kosovo Force soldiers.
With the KP and KFOR working together, more of the demonstrators were detained and the simulated “riot” subsided.
“The purpose of the training is to show how prepared the KP is.” said Army Col. Francisco J. Neumann, Ponce, Puerto Rico, commander of MNBG E. “There has to be good communication between the KP, EULEX and KFOR when they are on the ground. They have to know when they are going to communicate and how it’s going to happen.”
“The KP reacted quickly and decisively to the resistance. This was a very good exercise to familiarize KP officers with the new KFOR soldiers. It also gives KP the opportunity to coordinate actions with KFOR as we continue to get better at crowd and riot control,” said Kosovo Maj. Rashit Qualaj, Ferizaj regional director of Kosovo police.
Vega thought the exercise was a complete success.
“The main purpose of the exercise is to have our CRC-capable forces interact with KP and EULEX and have them work together in order to maintain a safe and secure environment in Kosovo,” said Vega.
Vega said that MNBG E plans to conduct this type of training at least once a month.