MACOMB — A specially trained unit of local law enforcement officers will be testing its skills at Western Illinois University today.
The Services Rescue Team will be conducting a drill somewhere on campus. Macomb Police Deputy Chief Dave Burnham said the team includes 11 of the Macomb Police Department’s 23 officers as well as other officers from the McDonough County Sheriff’s Department.
“They’re basically testing their skills to make sure they’re doing what they are supposed to do,” Burnham said.
Burnham said SRT will begin at the Macomb Police Station and will be dispatched to campus, but they will not know exactly where until the call comes.
“They’re going to be told what to do or get a general idea of what’s going on, and they respond to that situation, and they will have proctors standing by to watch what they do,” he said.
Burnham also said SRT is primarily deployed for drug warrants, active shooters or other potential scenarios that require a number of officers with these specialized skills.
“They make an entry into a location and as they go in, they just sweep through one room to another room to another room, basically clearing everything out,” he said. “They just have some specialized skills that not all of us have.”
The local SRT was established about five or six years ago and usually conducts training exercises every month. They follow national guidelines that include a number of considerations that must be assessed for each situation.
“There is a scale that we use that is nationally accepted,” Burnham said. “So depending on if SRT enters a residence for a drug task force, they will go through a lot of different things. Criminal histories of everybody who is inside, how much they have cooperated or not cooperated with police, there is just a whole checklist of things they have to go through. So depending how they will score out will determine whether we will use SRT in an event.”
“If we had an active shooter, we would call them out to assist or if we had something like a barricaded subject, we may call them,” he said.
“If it’s an emergency situation, you’re trying to get as many people to a situation.”

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