Spokane Police Expand the SWAT Team’s Mission and Re-name the Team to Reflect this Important Change

Monique Cotton, Director of Communication and Public Information, 509.363.8285

Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 4:32 p.m.

The Spokane Police Department enhances the training and response capabilities of the SWAT team to form The Emergency Response Unit.

The Spokane Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team is now the Emergency Response Unit (ERU). The ERU will build on the tactical expertise of team members by enhancing their ability to respond to and/or rescue persons in crisis whose actions threaten their individual safety, the safety of the community, or the safety of responding officers.

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.

Additionally, the team will receive training in rescue techniques consistent with incidents that involve individuals threatening to harm themselves, others, and/or responding officers. The team will also be equipped with the requisite equipment to ensure the safety of persons in crisis, the community, and of responding officers.

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.

“I, as well as our public safety leaders are committed to continuous improvement of the public safety services we provide to our citizens. This is a step that will undoubtedly help to save lives while protecting the safety of our first responders.” – Spokane Mayor David Condon

“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. 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.” – Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub

ERU is one of several changes the City of Spokane has, and continues to make, to strengthen our public safety response. For example, the Spokane Fire Department has implemented Alternative Response Units (ARUs) in order to send the most appropriate response to non-emergency medical calls. Additionally, working in collaboration with the Police Department, the Fire Department created the Rescue Task Force which deploys with the Police Department in the event of an active shooter or mass causality incident to render emergency medical treatment to victims. The Task Force deployed with the Police Department in response to the tragic incident at Deaconess Hospital.

View the entire 9/11 and ERU announcement news conference.

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