Tactical Response TeamIn todays society, narcotics related search warrants of places inhabited by well armed individuals, armed barricaded subjects, and hostage situations are no longer just a big city problem. These problems and others are finding their way into smaller communities. The need for a specialized team of officers to counter and solve these types of incidents was recognized by the City of Alton, Illinois, a town of 34,000+, in the St. Louis, Missouri metro area. Our Narcotics Enforcement Unit's increase in drug related search warrants, the infiltration of violent Chicago based gangs into our community and a number of hostage and barricade incidents, cased alarm and taxed the manpower capabilities of our uniformed patrol division.
In response to these trends, in January 1996, the Alton Police Department formed a Tactical Response Team (TRT) to deal with the increase in high risk warrant service, hostage incidents, and barricaded and/or violent armed individuals. Our philosophy was to train, equip, and maintain a unit that could effectively resolve these incidents by gaining maximum control with minimum force.
Our current 15 member team is made up of officers from throughout the department who are on-call should a situation arise. The team consists of a Team Commander, who is an administrative staff officer responsible for the overall operation of the team, it's training and equipment; a Team Leader who is responsible for all facets of the actual tactical operation; an Assistant Team Leader who serves in a similar capacity as the Team Leader and commands one section of the team should it become necessary to separate the team into two sections; eight Tactical Officers and two Crisis/Hostage Negotiators. Two of our tactical officers also serve as the teams precision marksmen and two are certified police medics. Officers selected for the team must be highly motivated and a devoted team player.
Currently the teams most time consuming function is high risk warrant service. However the team trains to be prepared for a variety of situations including hostage/crisis negotiation-hostage rescue, sniper situations, and building/vehicle assaults.