News

Interoperability and Integrated Response: Special Teams Workshop

October 17, 2014

The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) recently hosted the Bomb Technicians, Explosive Detection Canines, and Tactical Team (BT/ED-K9/SWAT) Workshop, a 3-day special team's interoperability training event, at the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC). Developed in conjunction with the SPTC, the National Center for Security & Preparedness (NCSP), the Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), and the U.S Department of Homeland Security's Office for Bombing Prevention (OBP) this workshop reinforces communication and collaboration in order to form the close working relationships that these disciplines need during an integrated response to a complex event such as the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.

The audience was limited to sworn law enforcement officers currently employed by a NYS law enforcement agency that are members of either a FBI accredited Bomb Squad, a Certified Explosive Detection Canine Handler, or Tactical Team members funded under the Fiscal Year 2013 NYS Tactical Team Grant. Students participated in classroom-based discussions, skill development lanes, and a series of scenario-based activities to train and test interoperability among these special teams.

Alison Delgardo, current Student Assistant at the NCSP and Secret Service, and former Student Assistant in the Grants Unit at NYS DHSES, said:

"I think that the workshop was an excellent demonstration of the benefits of collaboration between the NCSP and OCT. With our combined knowledge and resources, we were able to offer a unique workshop that exposed students to scenarios they will hopefully not have to face. As a result, I believe students are more prepared for a situation where their skills and knowledge may be needed."

Students demonstrated special operations interoperability to a Type 2 NIMS incident response through scenario-based activities that included active shooters, IEDs, and responding to a post-blast site. All units were trained to recognize possible information of intelligence value that can be gained from bystanders, hostages, or aggressors in custody. They also demonstrated effective command, control, and communications tactics when responding to a synchronic attack involving on-going active shooters and IEDs.

Michael Poland is the entry team leader and primary firearms and primary tactics instructor for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department SWAT team. He was the lead tactical team instructor and Subject Matter Expert for the workshop. In discussing what the goals of the workshop and future workshops, Mr. Poland said:

"I would like to see this as an opportunity for the different disciplines to start working together within their own agency or jurisdiction. I know that several comments were made stating that the different units do not work with the other specialty units within their agency or agencies in their area. In future workshops I would like to see like to see the lessons learned from past events, whether training or actual events are implemented in the workshops."

The Office of Counter Terrorism also coordinated guest speakers for the workshop to allow students to hear from experts in similar fields. Lieutenant Aaron Springer of the Rochester Police Department discussed the efforts by the Rochester Police Department to integrate law enforcement specialty teams to increase response and preparedness capabilities. Amtrak Regional Emergency Manager, Gary Hearn, instructed the Passenger Train Emergency Response Training (PTERT). PTERT is used to teach first responders how to properly communicate and coordinate with railroad personal during an emergency situation and to further develop emergency preparedness plans to ensure the safety of passengers.

For more information about workshops, courses, or special hosted events contact the SPTC at sptc.info@dhses.ny.gov or (315) 768-5689.