BERKELEY — Despite claims by some two dozen speakers that the Urban Shield exercises feed into a growing militarization of police, the City Council voted 5-3 Dec. 15 to approve all of Berkeley’s police-related mutual aid agreements. Councilmen Jesse Arreguin, Max Anderson and Kriss Worthington voted in opposition, with Councilwoman Susan Wengraf absent.

The controversial pact is with the Urban Area Security Initiative, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agency responsible for funding Urban Shield.

Urban Shield is an annual competition that includes police, firefighters and other first responders, held in the Bay Area since 2007.