Tactical Response Team
About the Team
In 1980, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department recognized the need for a specially trained unit to handle critical incidents. These critical incidents ranged from high-risk warrant service, hostage situations, barricaded gunmen, suicidal subjects and more.
Although Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department patrol personnel are highly and continuously trained, the need for specialized equipment and tactics were sometimes required to resolve a dangerous situation.
The formation of a Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) was the result after evaluating the needs of the department and community. The team originally comprised 10 officers who were selected after evaluations. These officers were equipped with the very basics of law enforcement equipment.
As calls for service for this team increased, it became obvious that the size and complexity of the tactical program needed to evolve. After some modest changes in the late 1980s, the team was increased to 24 members in 1992. This increase included several members from the Kenosha Police Department and the Pleasant Prairie Police Department.
To become a member of the Tactical Response Team candidates must pass a rigorous physical abilities test that incorporates technical and firearms skills. This is followed by an interview and performance review by the team’s command staff prior to final approval from the Sheriff’s administration.
The name of the unit was changed to the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Response Team.
Today's Tactical Response Team
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Response Team is now a 33-man team consisting of:
- One Tactical Commander
- One Assistant Commander
- Four Team Leaders
- Four-man Sniper Element (including a Sniper Team Leader)
- Eight-man TEMS (Tactical Emergency Medical Services) Element
- Twelve-man Entry Element
Under the supervision of the Sheriff’s Department, it is comprised of officers from the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Pleasant Prairie Police Department. The TEMS group is comprised of paramedics from the Village of Bristol Fire Department, the Village of Pleasant Prairie Fire Department, the Village of Salem Lakes Fire Department, and the Village of Somers Fire Department. TEMS is under the direction of Kenosha EMS Medical Director Benjamin Feinzimer and Assistant EMS Medical Director Benjamin Kessel.
A separate group within the Tactical Response Team is the Kenosha County Crisis Negotiations Unit. This group functions under its own Commander but reports to the Tactical Commander during an incident. The Crisis Negotiations Unit consists of 10 officers from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Pleasant Prairie Police Department, who are trained in the negotiations of critical incidents.
The Tactical Response Team trains a minimum of 8 hours per month in various tactical specialties. Members are required to qualify once per month with their primary rifle and handguns as well as yearly qualifications in specialty weapons. The Tactical Response Team strives to stay current with tactical trends and challenges facing law enforcement.
The Tactical Response Team is tasked with supporting the patrol division, conducting high-risk warrants, dignitary protection, barricaded gunman, rural operations, hostage situations, active shooter incidents, and civil unrest situations.
The Tactical Response Team was originally trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Currently, KSD utilizes the skills of our personnel to conduct our own training classes which have served as a training platform for other agencies. The expertise that has been gained through this program is now recognized statewide and serves as a testament to this team's skill.
The team trains twice a month. Members are required to maintain rigid standards of expertise and proficiency. The knowledge and capability of the Tactical Response Team are augmented by the newest equipment available to the Sheriff’s Department.
As the needs of the community change, so will the operation and structure of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Tactical Response Team.