One day, they could be in plain clothes and unmarked cars on the lookout for robbery suspects. The next, they might put on their bright orange traffic vests to enforce Maryland traffic laws and conduct a radar operation to stop speeders. They are the members of the Charles County Sheriff's Office's new Tactical Response Squad and they are ready to tackle any public safety problem in Charles County.
The new squad, which is comprised of four officers and a sergeant and is part of the Special Operations Section, officially began their duties Sept. 3. The squad's assignments will vary depending on what issues are an immediate public safety concern.
"Whenever we have a public safety concern, our patrol officers are proactive and address it aggressively, but they have countless other unrelated calls for service they must respond to. We have specialized units that address specific issues, but what we needed was a group of officers who could focus all their attention on any issue at any given time," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "That is why we created the Tactical Response Squad. Now we can address any situation without taking resources away from daily police operations."
Two public safety concerns this year have been increases in fatal crashes and citizen armed robberies, so the squad's first assignments have involved traffic safety and assisting in robbery investigations. There are a number of other operations the squad could be assigned in the future. During the holiday season later this year for instance, the Sheriff's Office will utilize the squad in its efforts to prevent robberies and thefts, which tend to increase during the holidays. The squad may conduct marked patrols to increase police presence or covert operations to help catch a robber or thief who might be operating in the county.
The squad is comprised of highly-motivated, veteran officers who have experience and expertise in a variety of fields, including patrol operations, the Criminal Investigations Division, traffic operations and the Emergency Services Team. Some of the officers are certified as radar operators. One officer is a certified firearms instructor, two are certified counter snipers and another is equipped with a Taser. The officers were chosen based on their years of experience as police officers and their specialized training.
"This squad was developed as a law enforcement tool to support other units in the Sheriff's Office by supplementing their manpower and targeting specific criminal activity." said Lt. Kevin Barrows, commander of the Special Operations Section.