The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

August 26, 2007

Critical Incident Response Team coming together

Support helps special police response unit

(Continued)

MERCER COUNTY —

School officials at Hermitage, Sharpsville, West Middlesex and George Junior Republic in Pine Township have allowed the team to train at their schools.

Student Transportation of America, Hermitage, and Mike Beatty of Grove City, have turned over use of buses for special training.

Sharon Police Department donated radios to the team, and Robert S. Goeltz, Hermitage’s fire chief, trained team members in hazardous materials response and allowed use of the department’s training tower for rappelling.

“We have some great community support,” McElhinny said, adding that U.S. Department of Homeland Security is to provide vests and helmets.

The team members donate their own time for training.

“Their commitment is unbelievable,” McElhinny said.

The team has participated in warrant services and arrests, and accompanied members of DEA, U.S. Marshal’s Service, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the state Attorney General’s Office and Mercer County Drug Task Force on details.

The team could be called anywhere in western Pennsylvania, and recently worked a warrant service detail in New Castle with the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

The team is not on the level of the state police CIRT because the Mercer County team members still have to work their regular jobs and are paid overtime for CIRT activities by their home departments, but it shows what law enforcement agencies can do when they work together, McElhinny said.

“It’s necessary nowadays — you have to share services,” he said. “You have to share information. That’s an important part of policing now.”

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