MIAMI (CBS4) – Wednesday, around high noon, dozens of Miami Police officers lined up for riot training.
Armed with batons and horses, officers ran through various formations preparing for the worst.
“It’s a mandatory training. All these officers are given this equipment and it’s in the event we have civil unrest at any given moment our officers are ready on a minute’s notice,” Miami Police spokesman Freddie Cruz said.
Ironic that is happening the same week a verdict in the controversial George Zimmerman trial could come down, a verdict that could incite civil unrest.
“This is just purely coincidence and it is mandatory training we have to do every year.” Cruz reassured.
Miami’s police union believes almost too coincidental.
“It’s very coincidental that it’s falling at this time.” Javier Ortiz with the Fraternal Order of Police said.
The union president said he hadn’t heard about the training until a few weeks ago.
“We haven’t had the training since 2011 so I don’t know if it really considered routine.”
The training, happening for weeks, will wrap up this week.
“There has been some talk among the officers that we believe that this training has to do with the fact that there might be some type of civil unrest, but we are hoping that that doesn’t happen,” Ortiz said
In Broward County the sheriff’s has released a series of public service announcements to preempt any possible violence. In one video a group of teens are lined up in front of the camera. Two teenagers shout out lines such “Raise your voice! And not your hands. We need to stand together as one, no cuss, no guns. Let’s give violence a rest because we can easily end up arrested.”
Sheriff Scott Israel then comes in behind the teenagers and wraps up the video with the line, “I’m Sheriff Scott Israel and law enforcement does have your back.”
The spots feature various teenagers and Miami Heat player James Jones asking the community to use their voice, not their hands.
“Talk it out. Show your community what you stand for.” Jones says.
The public service announcement can be seen here.
It’s a different approach that hopefully will help avoid having to use the training seen Wednesday