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Emergency response teams train at Loch Sloy

More than 60 members of the Tactics and Rescue Unit, Emergency Response Team, uniformed and plain clothed police officers took part in a training exercise Thursday at the Loch Sloy Holdings facility along Cty Rd 22.
From the outside perimeter, the scenario began at about 9 a.m. when roads were closed and blocked by Prince Edward County OPP officers. Inside, at the scene of the incident, one officer was shot and another was pinned down.
“There are hostages inside and the man is armed and he’s threatening to kill people,” said Sgt. Pete Donahoe, of the PEC OPP. “That’s the scenario they’re dealing with today.”
Emergency Response teams provide rapid response to emergencies – whether searching for a lost child or responding to a natural disaster or high-risk incident. Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) members are devoted to safe resolution of high-risk incidents and the provision of expert tactical support services in specialized areas. TRU incidents also include incident command, emergency response teams, canine team, a technical support section and crisis negotiators. TRU supports patrol officers in extreme circumstances such as hostage takings, sniper incidents or search of dangerous fugitives. The program comprises three full-time 12-member teams based in Orillia, Odessa and London.
“The first team here, out of Odessa, did the immediate action plan,” Sgt. Donahoe said. “Their first priority was to get in the amoured car, get in there and get the officers out because one was seriously wounded. Now, the second team, from London, is arriving so they will make the action plan for what has to be done next.”
Meanwhile, the crime unit investigates to find out as much information as they can on the subject holding the hostages. They find out the background information which becomes important to the hostage negotiators.
“It’s kind of like what you see on TV,” says Donahoe, “but on TV, the one group does everything but here it’s an integrated response and all the different units play an important role.”
These major scenario training exercises are mandated to be held twice a year, Donahoe said. “The units have their own separate training, but that’s why they have to do these scenarios where everybody comes together to see how it integrates together.”
PEC Police Board members were also on scene. Chairman Robert Quaiff was impressed, indicating all involved were a compliment to the province.
“It’s incredible to see the resources that they have and you just don’t understand it all until you get to see,” he said. “If they’re needed, then bingo! they’re here. It’s impressive.”

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