Monday, January 18, 2016

How $250,000 Will Be Spent

This morning, the Register-Star reported that the Shared Services Response Team--sometimes referred to as a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team--has been awarded $250,000 by the Department of Homeland Security: "Tactical police team awarded grants to expand abilities." The creation last year of this unit, made up of members of the Columbia and Greene county sheriffs' offices and the Hudson Police Department, was not without controversy, fear, and misgiving, so the idea that there was now a quarter of a million dollars to be spent on this unit raised some questions.

Sadly, the Register-Star article was short on details. It explained that the goal of the grant program was "to strengthen anti-terrorism programs, enhance disaster readiness, and expand protections to critical infrastructure." It quoted David Bartlett, our county sheriff, who spoke of "active shooter events or other high risk counterterrorism missons" and "specialty services that are often lacking or absent." But there were no specifics about how the money was to be spent.

Given that, according to the article, the Shared Services Response Team has, since its creation, been primarily used in Hudson, Gossips asked HPD Chief Ed Moore if he would provide more specific information, and he did.

The $150,000 grant to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office will pay for training and equipment (ropes, climbing gear, litter baskets) "for the deployment of officers by rope." This may involve using ropes "to insert an officer into an upstairs window," to raise and lower a litter, or to rappel down a cliff in a rescue situation.

The $100,000 grant to the Greene County Sheriff's Office will spent on training--sending potential new members of the team to "Basic Operator's School," a boot camp that provides "rigorous training involving physical fitness, firearms proficiency, and decision making." The money will also be used to purchase standardized radios and headsets and maybe even a van to replace the old school bus HPD currently uses to transport the team.

Speaking of the Shared Services Response Team and the controversy that surrounded its creation, Moore commented:
Last year, a decision had to be made. I don't think we could we ever attain the standards required by the state to achieve our certification and maintain our own SWAT team. We had a choice: go without, and rely on other departments to deploy within Hudson, or team up in this shared services arrangement. I chose to join up with the Sheriffs. We have a smaller special services force than we used to, a higher level of training, a quicker deployment, all with less cost to the local taxpayer. It is a "win" across the board. Further, with this arrangement I remain in the command structure when it comes to decisions made within our city. In that decision-making process I bring the desires, sensitivities, and wishes of the people who live here. I have a sense of what kind of police action our residents will deem appropriate or excessive. That is my responsibility and what I will be held accountable for.
The formulation of the team occurred as our national discussion was focused on police shootings. We couldn't have picked a worse time, and people reacted viscerally. I truly believe when people learn the motives and analyze the facts, the whole effort will be more appreciated.


  1. It's gratifying that these funds are being used primarily for training and secondarily on life-saving equipment, not military-style weapons and vehicles. This focus is a reflection of the levelheadedness which the Chief and HPD have brought to their participation in the Shared Services Response Team: it's about fulfilling the Department's mission to keep us all safe from the various threats these interesting times seem determined to confront us with.

  2. Thank you for asking the chief and informing us Carole.

    This is a good thing.