September 22, 2019
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Portland police to host training with military police, test skills

David Harry | The Forecaster
David Harry | The Forecaster
A mobile command unit used by Portland and South Portland police and fire departments sits outside Portland City Hall in this April 30, 2014, file photo. The unit doubles as a conference and communications center.

PORTLAND, Maine — Military police and local officers will put their skills to the test in a three-day training exercise to prepare for natural disasters or civil unrest starting Monday on outer Congress Street.

“The Portland Police Department with the 488th Military Police Company of the Maine Army National Guard will be conducting a joint training exercise in Portland to test their ability to communicate and work together,” Sgt. First Class Peter Morrison, a Maine Guard spokesman, said in an email.

Joint Training Exercise: Resurgam is designed to evaluate how the Maine Guard unit works with local law enforcement and civil authorities during natural disasters, such as hurricanes, and civil emergencies, such as an unruly protest.

“The exercise takes its name from Portland’s motto, Resurgam, which is Latin for ‘I shall rise again,’” Morrison said.

The goal is to have the best response available, if an emergency occurs, Portland spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said in an email.

“Communication, interoperability and a proven ability to work together are essential for an effective response to a natural disaster or emergency,” Grondin said.

The 488th is based in Waterville and has a detachment in Houlton. It recently made headlines as one unit listed in the controversial plan to transition of portions of the state’s 133rd Engineer Battalion into an infantry regiment.

Maine Guard leaders have the approved draft Army Command Plan in their hands but repeatedly have said they will not release the information until it is finalized later this summer.

The current transition plan, which was approved in January and led to the firing of the state’s former Maine Guard leader, would create a new 103rd Infantry Regiment from the 488th, the Brewer-based 172nd Mountain Infantry, and four units from the 133rd: the 136th Engineer Company in Skowhegan and Lewiston, the 251st Engineering Company of Norway, and the Forward Support Company and Headquarters Company, both based in Augusta.

Discontinued units under the current plan include the 1035th Survey and Design Team of Portland, the 1968th Contingency Contracting Team and the 121st Public Affairs Department, both based in Augusta.

The 488th was sent to Bagram Airfield, one of the largest U.S. military bases in Afghanistan for a yearlong deployment in July 2012. Its mission was to conduct police, detainment and stability operations and help train Afghanistan forces.

Joint Training Exercise: Resurgam will take place in an undeveloped area off outer Congress Street and will include the South Portland Police Department, South Portland Fire Department and the Portland Regional Communications Center.

“There is not expected to be any impact to commuter traffic flow due to increased military traffic,” Morrison said.

 



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