Courtesy of the HPD Video Unit
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The City of Houston sometimes experience situations that require a large force of well trained officers to accomplish specialized public safety missions involving large crowds, dignitary visits, demonstrations or natural disasters. Most commonly, a large group of officers are needed for a scheduled special event; however, sometimes a crowd control situation arises without warning, and additional officers are immediately required to respond to an unforeseen emergency.
The recognition of these recurrent contingencies provided the impetus for the creation of the Houston Police Department’s Special Response Group (SRG) in 1992. Central to the development of the SRG concept was the requirement that a response by SRG officers would not unfairly impact or excessively disrupt police service in any single area of the city. SRG officers have collateral assignments and attend a forty-hour SRG Basic Course followed by tri-annual training for the remainder of their duration in SRG. The training encompasses a plethora of subjects to include formations, hand and arm signals, mass arrest procedures, tactical updates, full scale scenarios, baton training, terrorism topics, pain compliance techniques, protester devices, and weapons of mass destruction. There are currently 670 officers department-wide who are SRG members.
An elite element exists within SRG; the Crowd Disbursement Team (CDT). It was created in 2003 in preparation for Super Bowl XXXVIII. These are highly motivated individuals who attend a rigorous three day try-out for an opportunity to become a CDT member. The CDT functions as arrest teams, roving foot patrols, chemical munitions teams, and any other function that may necessitate their squad to maintain or restore civil order. In addition to the SRG tri-annual training, CDT members attend bi-annual CDT training. The training encompasses less lethal weaponry and munitions followed by full scale scenarios. Often outside elements and assets participate in conjunction with the realistic scenarios they encounter. There are 140 members in the CDT.
The basic tenet in SRG responses is the squad concept. Normally, police officers operate as individuals. SRG emphasizes the importance of operating as a squad. Therefore, it is important the squad members, squad leaders, and field force commander understand their roles and the SRG concept.
Starting today I will be posting a series of video clips which show the intense training that these officers endure. The documentary focuses on the "Hard Team" tryouts. Part One (1) will be shown today and the rest of the series will continue next week.