MIAMI (CBS4) – Some witnesses who spotted Blackhawk-like helicopters flying and hovering over buildings in downtown Miami and the Brickell area say they wish they’d receive some warning from the military about the training exercises.
Some of those residents sad they were scared at first; others thought there was a threat. But authorities say there was no need to warn the public because there was threat to safety or traffic and no lives were in danger.
Kim Tiscione, a spokeswoman for U.S. Army Public Affairs, told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench that Wednesday would be the final night of training exercises. “We regret any inconvenience but these exercises are vital to homeland security.”
The exercises were part of the certification process for the military and improved the military’s ability to operate in urban environments and in overseas deployments.
Tuesday night’s drill ran from 9:15 p.m. until around midnight and some sent messages on twitter asking why the public had not been warned about these drills.
“We saw 3 helicopters last night all over the place,” said Rajat Sood. “We saw one of the blackhawk like helicopters on top of one building. It was flying very low and we wondered what was going on. I thought they were looking for me and I went inside.”
“I think we should have been warned,” said Sood. “We need to know what’s going on in our community.”
“We were talking to a lot of people and they were all scared about it,” said Ranjit Sood, his father and also the owner of the Mint Leaf Indian restaurant. I think people should be told about this.”
“We thought we were under threat,” said Sood. “I think it would have been nice to know.”
“It was two nights in a row,” said Sandra Bicknell. “And it was kind of scary.”
“You warn the public when there are going to be safety concerns and when there are going to be traffic concerns and a threat to public safety,” said Miami Police spokesman Delrish Moss. “None of those issues were the case here. This was an exercise that strengthened homeland security and each agency learned from each other.”
“The reason we did this at night was to satisfy safety concerns and disrupt as few people as possible,” said Moss. “Safety precautions were taken and in fact they were taken months in advance.”
“It was a little scary,” said Natalie Steere. “But there has to be military training.”.