Monique Cotton, Public Information and Communication Director, Spokane Police Departme, No Phone Number Available
Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.
The SWAT Team has a new name. That new name reflects an important change, one that will enhance the team's ability to respond to crisis situations.
The Spokane Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team is now the Emergency Response Unit (ERU). ERU members will receive specialized training in hostage/crisis negotiations. Members will also be trained in rescue techniques consistent with incidents that involve individuals threatening to harm themselves, others, and/or responding officers.
“All too frequently, our police officers are confronting individuals who are in crisis and threatening to harm themselves, members of the community, or responding officers,” Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said. “It is imperative that we properly train and equip members of the Emergency Response Unit, so that they can safely resolve these incidents and minimize the risk of injury and/or death.”
Earlier this week, and again this morning, SPD officers responded to incidents of individuals threatening to commit suicide by jumping off bridges in Spokane. Officers regularly face these life and death situations and in many cases respond by risking their personal safety to save the life of the individual threatening to harm themselves. Police officers responding to these type of critical incidents must be appropriately trained and equipped to ensure the safety of the individuals they encounter, the community's safety, and their safety.
All members of the ERU will receive specialized training in hostage/crisis negotiations. Team members will continue to be trained in tactical emergency medicine, with some members receiving advanced emergency medical training. Some members of the team will also receive enhanced crisis intervention training (ECIT), building on the 40 hours of basic CIT training they have already received. The team will also be equipped with the requisite equipment to ensure the safety of persons in crisis, the community, and of responding officers.
ERU is one of several changes the City of Spokane has, and continues to make, to strengthen our public safety response.