NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Local police agencies joined forces Tuesday to learn how to respond to a riot.
Instructors from FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness are leading three days of training for officers from the Charleston and North Charleston Police Departments, and deputies from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.
Most of the officers don't know what it's like to be in the middle of a riot.
Tuesday they got a taste on the Danny Jones Field in North Charleston.
Sergeant Jessie King is going through the training for the first time.
"People have a right to protest and we're not taking that away. But what we want to do is we want to make sure people are safe while these incidents occur," King saidd.
The instructors give orders to the officers who march in formation.
All are wearing riot gear that would be worn during an actual disturbance.
"We have batons, our gas masks, helmets. We have training gear, equipment to get out here and do the best realistic training we possibly can," King said.
The training got very realistic. The instructors unleashed gas and turned up the noise to simulate a real riot.
The officers put on their gas masks.
"A lot of these incidents, very loud, a lot of confusion, a lot of chaos going on," King said. "It's harder for us to hear, so we really have to focus on the commands and what we're doing."
They moved closer to what would normally be a crowd.
The idea is to keep the protestors back and make sure no one is hurt.
This was just a test.
These cops say they will be prepared just in case.