Sumner County Sheriff's Department
The Sumner County Sheriff Department Emergency Response Team or S.E.R.T., was formed by the Sheriff's Department in 1997. The Sheriff's Department has recognized that the presence of a highly trained, highly skilled law enforcement tactical unit has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, police officers, and suspects. It has also been recognized that a well managed "team" response to critical incidents usually results in successful resolution of critical incidents. It is the intent of the Sheriff Emergency Response Team to provide a highly trained and skilled tactical team as a resource for the citizens of Sumner County. The team's primary responsibility is to preserve life and peacefully resolve crisis situations. The team uses specialized tactical training, skills, and equipment in an effort to accomplish this goal.
Some situations where the team may be utilized are High risk warrant service including both arrest warrants and search warrants, Hostage Situations, Barricaded Suspects, as well as any other special assignments assigned to the team by the team leader.
In 2000 the team was expanded to allow officers from other agencies to become part of the team. We also added 2 Medics to the team, and changed our name from SERT to SWAT since we were now a Multi-jurisdictional team. Team members are volunteers and have chosen to be members of the team. Team members must have a minimum of 3 years law enforcement experience, and pass stringent physical, psychological and firearms testing as well as an oral review board. The team is on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The team has completed several successful responses, since being formed in 1997.
The team members receive a minimum of 200 hours per year in specialized training related to emergency responses.
SWAT is available to assist all law enforcement agencies within the county at their request.
A common misconception of tactical teams by most people due mostly to television programs, is that the tactical team or "SWAT" team storms into a house shooting guns and blowing things up, While in actuality it is the opposite; the team relies highly on surprise and specialized training to resolve matters peacefully. A study conducted by the National Tactical Officers Association revealed that agencies with "tactical" type teams, have less incidents of the use of deadly force than agencies without the team capability. One of the reasons for this is the increased variety of specialized equipment, and training available, which allow the resolution of high risk incidents without the use of lethal force.
SWAT utilizes only about 1 % of their money from the Sheriff's budget, virtually all equipment and training relies primarily on donations. If anyone has any questions about the team, or would like to make a donation, they should contact Mike Yoder at the Sheriff's Department at 620-326-8941.