Police conduct HOV reversal exercise in Va.

10:09 AM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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VSP trooper during the HOV reversal exercise (Virginia Department of Transportation)

FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) -- Wednesday morning, first responders, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Transportation conducted an HOV reversal exercise.  

At 11 a.m. officials began the exercise. Drivers on Interstates 95, 395, 495, and 66 were expected to see an increased more officers and VDOT Safety Services Patrol personnel at exit ramps and locations in Northern Virginia.

During the exercise, officers responded to their designated locations to test deployment practices on the interstate system between Northern Virginia and Caroline County, Va. The operation also tested "the interoperability of communications systems among the participating agencies," according to a Virginia State Police press release.

The exercise occurred during regular, mid-morning HOV ramp closures. Officers were toleave their location soon after they have confirmed their location and presence, according to state police.

"This is a 'no-notice' event, meaning that the first responders have not been apprised of the exercise in advance," explained Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker in a press release. "The purpose of this traffic management exercise is to test and evaluate the preparedness of first responder agencies throughout the National Capital Region. Geography, population and infrastructure make being able to execute a plan of this nature a critical necessity for the safety and protection of everyone living, working and visiting the region in the case of a manmade or natural disaster."

At 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, the exercised finished and Virginia State Police reported that "within 45 minutes, all participating local, state and federal agencies expeditiously responded to their posts as dictated by the HOV Reversal Exercise plan. The plan was successfully executed without incident."

VDOT, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and law enforcement agencies are now conducting an after-action review of today's activation of the plan.

Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, City of Alexandria Police, Arlington County Police, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, Fairfax County Police, Metropolitan Police, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Pentagon Force Protection Agency and Prince William County Police are all participating in the exercise.

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