The Sheboygan Police Department Emergency Response Team (ERT) responds to high-risk situations which require a tactical approach beyond normal police patrol operations, such as barricaded subjects, high-risk warrants where suspects are believed to be armed, hostage situations, and large civil disturbances. Members of the ERT receive advanced training in tactics, searching techniques, room clearing, and use of specialized equipment such as ballistic shields, distraction devices, specialty impact and chemical munitions, and breaching tools for entering locked doors.
One of the reasons ERT Units, SWAT Units and other specialized tactical response units have developed across the country was the need for officers to be able to deploy a wide variety of special tools and skills to volatile situations, so that police have a greater chance of resolving these situations without a great use of force. Some the special tools the ERT uses are: ballistic shields, noise/flash diversion devices, specialty impact munitions, chemical munitions, night vision equipment, and special tools to force entry into locked buildings.
The Sheboygan Police Department’s ERT is made up of 13 officers and two patrol sergeants. There are 13 operators who serve perimeter, breaching and entry functions during high-risk calls. The team also has five trained crisis negotiators. The goal of the team’s training and techniques is to peacefully resolve serious, high-risk situations which occur in the community and minimize danger to officers, suspects and the public at large. The team also seeks to work collaboratively with the community to respond to the growing nationwide trend in workplace and school violence.
The ERT responds to very specific types of high risk calls, including:
Where a person who has either committed a crime or is to be taken into custody for other reasons has barricaded themselves in their home, refused to allow themselves to be taken into custody, and given some indication they have armed themselves.
Any call in which people have been taken hostage.
High Risk Warrant Service
ERT assists investigators in the service of search and arrest warrants where information has been received that the subject of the warrant is armed or is a previous violent offender.
ERT has been trained in various methods of crowd control and will respond to civil disturbances which require disbandment.
Positions on the Emergency Response Team
There are many unique assignments and responsibilities that members of the Emergency Response Team fulfill, including:
Team Leader: Responsible for planning the ERT response to any high-risk calls, coordinating safe team movement, and communicating with the incident commander.
Breacher/Rear Security: Protects the team from attack from the rear. Responsible for breaching duties during dynamic operations.
Marksman/Observer: Provides long rifle support. Communicates intelligence to Commander and Team Leaders regarding suspect’s activities.
Negotiator: Attempts to contact and negotiate with the suspect and relay intelligence to E.R.T.
Grenadier: Responsible for special equipment necessary for the mission, including chemical agents, specialty impact munitions, etc.
The ERT is supervised by Sergeant Sarah Blodgett and Sergeant Shannon McKay, and assisted by the Team Leader, Detective Brandon Kehoe and Assistant Team Leader, Officer Steve Schnabel. All officers on the team are full- time patrol officers who volunteered and were selected as ERT members as an additional duty assignment. To qualify for assignment to the ERT, officers must meet stringent standards of physical agility and marksmanship as well as high performance in their primary patrol assignment.
If you would like The Sheboygan Police Department’s Emergency Response Team to provide a demonstration or program to your group, please contact Sgt. Blodgett or Sgt. Shannon McKay at (920) 459-3333, or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.