An inside look at a Special Response Team - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

An inside look at a Special Response Team

Thomasville- In times of police crisis, it's the SWAT or Special Response Team that's called in. The officers are highly skilled. And their intense training equips them to handle just about any situation.

     When the Thomasville/Thomas County Special Response Team is pressed into action, it can happen in a blink of an eye. The SRT is specially designed to handle high liability, and high risk situations. "High risk situations can be anything from a barricaded suspect to an armed bank robbery suspect, things of that sort. They're anything out of the unusual where patrol division or uniform patrol on either side cannot handle a high risk situation because of the situation involving hostages or things like that," says SRT commander, Lieutenant Norman Taylor.

     The SRT is an any time, any place team based on camaraderie that counts on one and other every step of the way. "Weapons are going off either right behind you, right in front of you, or just over your shoulder. Things like that. So you have to have to have a great deal of trust in the team members you work with," says Taylor.

     Equipment like the MP-5 submachine gun is key to the SRT's operations. It's just one of the tools that separates them from regular patrol officers. "The equipment is a must. We have got to have better equipment than the bad guys do. We have got to not just out gun them, but we also have to outsmart them too. We do have a fairly good size number of weapons in our arsenal. Anywhere from the handguns we carry, we have MP-5's that we use for entry work, we have M-16's that we use, we have sniper rifles, .308 calibers," says Taylor.

     Those snipers execute missions of stealth, primarily serving as scouts. "It's our job to go out and collect as much information for the team. So, when the team goes into a situation, they know exactly what they're getting into, the layout of the house,doors, windows, any intel we can give them. Secondary to that, we're there for, if we absolutely have to, take a shot on a bad guy," says SRT sniper Joe McMurray.

     But that's a last resort, after a last ditch effort to resolve the situation peacefully. "If we go in, we get the suspect out, and no one gets hurt, that's the ideal situation," says Taylor. But the contrary is a situation the SRT trains for at least once a week.

     The Thomasville / Thomas County SRT is made up of police officers and sheriff's deputies. Each of its members work regular duty shifts in addition to their SRT work.

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Posted May 20, at 3:04 pm by stephen.ryan@walb.com