Local emergency personnel train on the Illinois River

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PEORIA, Ill, (WMBD) — Law enforcement from around the area gathered along the Illinois River for training Monday morning.

“This is a maritime security exercise. We’re required to do these every three to four years. And it’s a joint exercise that includes a lot of different agencies,” Fon Du Lac Park District Chief Of Police Mike Johnson said. “So, we’ll have the Central Illinois Response Team, which is our swat team out here. We’ll have local authorities from the City of East Peoria, Peoria Fire Department. State’s TRT team.”

The morning began with looking at the layout of the riverboat, then practicing boarding a large, moving water vessel like the Spirit of Peoria.

While law enforcement practices boarding of the spirit of Peoria, the riverboat crew gets a benefit from the training as well.  

“We’re both required to do a full-scale exercise for safety purposes on the Spirit of Peoria.” Spirit pf Peoria Captain/Owner Alex Grieves said.

Later on in the day, the agencies practiced a scenario on the McClugage bridge project and an underwater bomb threat drill.

All of Monday’s training is to respond to potentially dangerous situations that could impact lives and business on the river.

“If the Illinois River were to shut down it’s a huge impact for commerce in this area. So, our goal is to keep the river open,” said Johnson.

And learning how to work together with other agencies to keep people safe.

“It’s basically an opportunity for these agencies that don’t get to work together every day to mesh together and find what our shortfalls are,”  Johnson said.

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