The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 26, 2007

Critical Incident Response Team coming together

Support helps special police response unit

MERCER COUNTY — When the Critical Incident Response Team was formed two years ago, it had no specialized training or equipment and more than a few skeptics about whether it was needed.

Since then, the combined efforts of the federal government and local community, along with the dedication of the team members, have made it a functioning unit, confident in its abilities.

“I’m very happy with the advances we have made, so far,” said Hermitage Police Chief Patrick B. McElhinny, a member of the team’s oversight board. “I have every confidence we can do what we’re doing safely now.”

The unit is made up of 15 policemen from Hermitage, Sharon, Southwest Mercer County Regional and Grove City. The members had to pass a traditional interview process to join the team, and must complete quarterly firearms examinations — the state requires policemen to qualify only once a year — and an annual physical fitness test.

The team is designed to respond to unusual situations, such as snipers, hostage and barricade standoffs and high risk arrests, and dealings with more sophisticated criminals, who employ barricaded doors and security cameras.

The federal government has stepped forward with the training. U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency provided 40 hours of tactical training.

“It would have cost us about $20,000 for a private vendor,” McElhinny said.

Every other month, two members of the team attend a training session with an FBI agent — also for free — and then train the rest of the team. Subjects covered so far have included building entry and firearms.

“The quality of what we’re getting is really, really high,” McElhinny said.

Community support also has raised the level of the team. Tom Marshall of Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, Hermitage, donated a trailer loaded with sledge hammers, pry bars, hand tools and other items, and Duferco Farrell Corp., Farrell, made a 500-pound steel entry door that the team will use to practice building entries.

Text Only
Local News
  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story

  • News briefs from July 19, 2014

    Michigan man charged with assaulting girl here

    Sharon man charged with raping woman

    July 19, 2014

  • For sale Realty transfer tax hike headed for ballot

    Sharon voters will be deciding through a referendum whether city council can raise the realty transfer tax. Council gave first reading Thursday to an ordinance that phrases the question that will be printed on the November ballot.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bella recovering Vet: Dog lucky to be alive, should survive

    Although a veterinarian said an underweight dog found Thursday with a gruesome neck wound was lucky to be alive, her prognosis for recovery is good.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Alleged hit-run driver arrested

    Sharon police said Friday afternoon they had arrested a man believed to have driven a vehicle that struck an 11-year-old boy Thursday and left the scene.

    July 19, 2014