In 1986 the Gloucester Township Police formed its Special Response Team (SRT). The team consists of highly motivated and experienced officers from within the department. An SRT member is chosen after a rigorous testing and selection process. Once appointed, the member obtains training in a variety of specialized tactics and skills, which require equipment and techniques that are beyond the normal scope of training for most police officers. Their mission is to protect the lives of citizens and members of law enforcement during high risk incidents such as hostage rescue, barricaded persons, suicidal/armed persons, rapid deployment, terrorist acts, civil disorder, dignitary protection and the service of arrest and search warrants.
The SRT also trains with the department’s Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) to successfully resolve various types of incidents. The CNT is a component of the SRT on responses and is comprised of officers and supervisors who have been specially trained in crisis negotiations. Team members are committed to the safe resolution of situations through negotiation or mediation of critical incidents. CNT members receive regular training in practical role playing scenarios and related seminars that address the evolving techniques of negotiation along with academic instruction on topics such as post traumatic stress disorder and mental illness.
Additionally, both SRT and CNT members are trained in the crisis intervention team (CIT) program. This program is an innovative international model of police based crisis intervention combined with community health care and advocacy partnerships where the officers receive intensive training to respond to citizens experiencing a behavioral crisis. SRT combined with CNT is a valuable resource for Gloucester Township and its use decreases the likelihood for resistance while enhancing the safety of police personnel along with the citizens they are dedicated to protect.