The Crisis Response Team (CRT) is a special stand-alone unit, assigned to the patrol division commander. The team consists of 8 members who have other duties within the police department to include public affairs, communications, detectives and patrol. The team as mentioned is headed up by a Sergeant and a team leader. The selection process for the negotiations positions is based on an application process and appointment by the chief of police.
The training received by this team is outstanding. The team conducts monthly training for a minimum of 120 hours a year. The team receives POST update training whenever it becomes available in the area. The team also enjoys a great relationship with the California Hostage Negotiators Association who holds regional training and our team is a member of the NTOA. A mandatory part of the training includes quarterly training with the departments SWAT team on reality based situations. The training has included commuter trains, airplanes, and schools; high and low density housing and public building scenarios, which were all conducted over the past 18 months.
The make up of the team is unique as it a mix of sworn and non-sworn members. Because of the size of the department it is necessary for members to have more then one assignment in the department. On the team we have two communications officers, a public information officer, a mounted unit officer, bomb squad officer and the rest are patrol officers. Each of these officers have special training that has come in handy over the years depending on the situations. Okay maybe not the mounted unit, but the rest have had to use their training to help resolve incidents. In addition to the team members having continuous CRT training, each member of the patrol division receives first responder training and active shooter training.
For years the team had no modern equipment, but used equipment. Then in 1995 the departments obtained from the Air Force a used step van with very low mileage and with the assistance of a neighborhood watch volunteer configured the interior into a fully functional negotiation vehicle. The CRT van has phone lines, air conditioning, heat and all the exterior hookups for power, phone and t.v. monitoring. The van is designed for three people and plenty of storage. In 1999 the department obtained their first professional phone system manufactured by Rescue Phone and has since developed a unique delivery system for the throw phone.
The team has a public function also in regards to education. The team travels with the SWAT team to public safety fairs, schools and civic groups to help educate the public on how vital these two teams are. The CRT unit also provides hostage survival training to our local banks and high risk business organizations, just in case they ever find themselves in that position.
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