RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall apologized to neighbors Tuesday about last week’s U.S. Army training exercise on Capital Boulevard, which he said was “considerably louder and more disruptive than the city anticipated.”
The Army conducted the training late Thursday night at the former Capital Plaza Hotel. Some neighbors received a notice that the training would include helicopters and simulated weapons fire.
Some neighbors who heard the exercise said they did not receive a notification, leading some of them to call 911 out of concern.
City officials say the Army requested to handle notification of neighbors about the exercise. Army officials did so near the time of the exercise to try to avoid drawing a large crowd to witness it.
“I regret how events unfolded and the disruption to our neighborhood residents. I apologize to anyone who was negatively impacted by the event,” said Hall. “I can assure you this type of event will not happen again.”
Hall said city staff members wanted to work with the Army to allow the training “to be consistent with our longstanding support of training for all public safety officials.”
City Council Member David Cox said he learned about the training several weeks before it occurred and watched it unfold.
“I was told explicitly that we probably wouldn’t even hear it outside the building. That was very different than what actually happened,” he said.
If the city receives requests like this again, Cox asked Hall to consult with council first, which Hall agreed to do.
Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, spokesman for the Army’s Special Operations Command, said city leaders were briefed on what the exercise would entail.
“Raleigh is unique in that it was a new place to train, but that is what’s always the goal, to have unfamiliar training areas to enhance the readiness of our soldiers as we prepare to answer the nation’s call,” he told CBS 17.
He said the Army could again make a similar request to train.
“If a unique training opportunity arises in Raleigh, I could see a request being made. But, we do this from coast to coast from the Canadian border to the Mexican border,” he said.
He added the goal is “to make sure soldiers have the skills needed.”