No, there's not really a terrorist attack happening at Boom Island Park
Today's training exercise is meant to simulate the release of a "dirty bomb."
Have you seen law enforcement personnel responding to what looks like a terror attack of some sort along the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis today?
No, Wisconsin isn't attacking us with nerve gas. It's really just a law enforcement exercise involving agencies from Minneapolis, St. Paul, the FBI, Hennepin County, and the Minnesota National Guard.
An online flier notifying folks about "Operating Raging River" cautions that those in the area "may hear loud noises and possibly see smoke, [but] this is only a training exercise."
It goes on to ask people not to call 911 so that operators will be available to handle actual emergencies.
Access to the park is restricted from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.
As for what all the fuss is about, the flier says, "All agencies will be responding to a simulated release of a radiological dispersal device," or "dirty bomb."
"Small amounts of a controlled and approved test substance will be used to trigger detection equipment during the exercise," it continues. "This material will be under the control of trained personnel and poses no danger to the public."
Dangerous or not, our top tweeter argues that timing the training on the day of a primary election isn't the best idea:
Seems like a dirty trick to schedule a dirty bomb exercise--complete with explosions & smoke--on a day it could scare people from voting.
-- Chris Steller (@chris_steller) August 11, 2014
If another country or even US city held radioactive terrorist attack practice on a voting day, there's be questions. Snafu at best @snyde043
— Chris Steller (@chris_steller) August 11, 2014
But Tom Miller of Minneapolis's Office of Emergency Management says concerns like the one expressed by Steller are "over-dramatic."
"No, it shouldn't scare people away from voting," Miller tells us. "There will be no disruptions outside the park."
"We've had a very active campaign of letting neighbors know around the area, we've dropped off leaflets, we've notified elected officials, neighborhood councils, and the media and let them know it's a public safety exercise and there's no threat to the public," Miller continues.
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