Blaine County Sheriff Department Members Return From Training


By Paul Johnson

Hailey, Idaho (KMVT-TV) - The Blaine County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team recently held an intensive four day 40 hour hostage negotiation training on U.S. Forest Service land to deploy newly acquired hostage negotiation equipment purchased with the help of Bureau of Homeland Security funding. The POST certified training held north of Fairfield September 9-12, 2012, included land navigation skills, containment and concealment proficiency and dynamic entry training, but focused on the familiarization and use of the newly purchased Direct-Link Crisis Response Phone System. The system provides valuable communication assistance during a hostage or crisis situation and allows our negotiators the ability to communicate with the suspects at a safe distance while monitoring the negotiations. S.E.R.T., a multi-jurisdictional task force made up of elite officers from the Sun Valley and Ketchum Police Departments and the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, was established in the late 1980’s to respond to major incidences that require a tactical team such as bank robberies, kidnapping or hostage situations, school shootings, and barricaded subjects. S.E.R.T. regularly trains 20 hours per month and one week per year to maintain their immediate action rapid response capabilities. “Their primary objective is to handle lethal weapon situations that may threaten the lives of the citizens of Blaine County. Officer, hostage and citizen safety are absolute priorities,“ said Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey. The Hostage Negotiation Team is a sub-group of highly trained officers who augment S.E.R.T.’s capabilities to respond to emergencies outside the normal response of typical law enforcement. The goal of the negotiation process is to save lives and to resolve crisis incidents while attempting to avoid unnecessary risk. According to Dominick J. Misino, Director of International Association of Hostage Negotiators, “Negotiation defusing skills represent law enforcement’s most successful tool with 83% resolved without injury.” As a result of recent training by the Blaine County S.E.R.T. Team, now both citizens and visitors can rest a little easier. “Our job is to be trained and prepared for any situation,” said Ramsey.

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