SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM
"Respect All, Fear None"
The Charlestown-Sellersburg Police Department's Special Response Team (S.R.T., was founded in 2005 as a result of the growth and needs of the local area. The premise is simple: Assemble a team of highly motivated individuals, provide them with state-of-the-art equipment and extensive training, and make them available to the local area whenever necessary. At the helm of the S.R.T. is the tactical commander, responsible for the management and supervision of the members of the S.R.T. The tactical commander selects the team leaders, who report directly to the commander. The primary goal of the team is to bring all incidents to a peaceful and as positive of a resolution as possible.
The S.R.T. consists of entry personnel including team doctors. The primary role of the S.R.T. doctor is to render aid to officers or suspects if needed. The doctors are cross-trained in entry tactics in the event their roles are switched, each highly trained in a multitude of weaponry and tactics. Four additional members are fully entry trained, as well as specially trained in the deployment and use of long rifles. Precision marksmanship is essential for both entry and long rifle use. The team trains together eight hours per month, making sure each member stays current on evolving tactics and weaponry.
The S.R.T. is mobilized whenever a crisis develops which is deemed by a patrol supervisor to be beyond the scope of immediately available resources. A 24-hour paging system alerts all members of S.R.T. members that their skills are needed. All members keep and maintain their issued equipment to allow for a timely response. Upon arrival at the designated command post, the S.R.T. Commander meets with the team leaders and scene command personnel to access the situation. Multiple tactical resources are deployed with the intent to ensure the safety of any victims, all surrounding citizens, on-scene police personnel, and the person in crisis.
Another function of the S.R.T. is to support the Investigative Division in the service of High Risk Warrants. The classification of a High Risk Warrant service situation is based on numerous factors. These factors range from the inclusion of weapons to a high potential for violence by the person(s) being served. The use of the S.R.T. decreases the likelihood of violence and aggression by suspects due to the S.R.T. being highly organized and tactical. The use of Flash Bangs (light and sound diversionary devices) to distract the occupants of a structure, coupled with the rapid deployment of tactical personnel results in a safe conclusion to the service of a warrant.
The hostage negotiator is mobilized with S.R.T. to make contact with an individual in crisis, with the sole intent of providing him or her with positive options and alternatives. The negotiator is also able to assist individuals with a multitude of follow-up services to decrease the likelihood of future crisis situations. The negotiator is "cross-trained" to be prepared to assist with the S.R.T. in several other of it's functions and services.
The application process is lengthy and challenging. Each applicant submits an essay of interest, an oral board interview, and must pass a grueling physical agility test and obstacle course. Following the agility test and obstacle course, all candidates must successful complete a standard course of fire and a tactical move-and-shoot course of fire, requiring at least a 90% proficiency in the use of S.R.T. firearms. The final determination of all applicants is made by the Chief of Police and Division Commander. Each selected member is required to make a two-year commitment to the team due to the extensive amount of start-up and continuing training investments.
Due to the dangerous and violent nature of S.R.T. mobilizations, each members of the team receives a high level of initial training and continuing training. In addition to the extensive amount of training required to be a police officer, all S.R.T. members must attend and complete a 40 hour SWAT school, often sponsored by neighboring agencies. Local tactical units of cooperation include teams of the Jeffersonville, Clark County and Floyd County Police Departments.
Upon successful completion of SWAT school, new members of the S.R.T. are paired with seasoned training officers. It is the responsibility of the training officers to ensure the new members meet the stringent training standards set forth by the Commander and Chief.
S.R.T. members meet twice a month for a four hour mandatory shoot, concentrating on varying weapons deployed at each mobilization. Tactical handgun, MP-5 machine gun, M-4, shotgun and several other weapons are used by all team members, each requiring extensive continuing training.
Team Leaders conduct monthly training for the entire S.R.T., always with a focus on tactical training and teamwork. Topics for S.R.T. range from less-lethal weaponry and gas training to close quarter battle entry tactics. By working together during training, a high level of trust exists between the S.R.T., negotiators, team physicians and other support personnel, which translates into better service for the citizens of Charlestown and Sellersburg, Indiana.
S.R.T. views each callout as potentially dangerous, hence the need for extensive training. S.R.T. also views each callout as an opportunity to assist an individual in crisis by returning control of his/her life to that person in a dignified, positive way. Each citizen of the local area deserves the dedication and efforts put forth by the S.R.T., including those in crisis.
For more information, contact the Special Operations Division Commander, Andrew Wathen at (812) 256-6345, extension 202 or at AWathen@ctownpd.com.