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By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept.’s (RCSD) Special Response Team (SRT) are pictured here taking a quick breather after moving up-and-down several flights of stairs during tactical-movement training in one of the buildings on the Blue Cross Blue Shield complex in northeast Columbia, Monday night. The SRT is the RCSD’s special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team.

These RCSD operators and those not pictured – all of whom are experienced deputies (and many of whom are former Marines and Army infantry) – are trained and equipped to respond quickly and with myriad options in a variety of special missions; from counterterrorism to counterdrug operations.

All operators are skilled in close-quarters combat and in the use of various weapons. They are further trained in tactical communication, trauma medicine and the ability to lead other operators, think critically under conditions of extreme stress, and save lives.

According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, “Because the SRT’s weapons systems are so lethal, the tactics and techniques are so complex, and because the various potential missions of the SRT are so dangerous; we have to ensure through intense training and personnel selection that our SRT members are the sharpest mentally and emotionally, the most deliberate, the most capable of focusing and being creative under stress, and generally speaking the ones who take the proverbial calculated-risk to its finest point. There are no ‘cowboys’ serving within the SRT, nor in any of the Special Teams Division’s units, nor among our patrol officers.”

Monday night’s training focused on close-quarters combat, active shooter response, and hostage-rescue operations.

– For more information about the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept., visit http://rcsd.net.

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