New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray today announced that six law enforcement teams from across the state successfully participated in the fifth annual ‘Tactical Week’ exercise held at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. The scenario-based training provided law enforcement tactical teams with opportunities to respond to some of the most challenging and dangerous calls for service in New York State, including active shooter incidents, barricaded subjects, and hostage situations. Tactical Week began on June 12 and concludes on June 15. A total of 42 tactical team operators from across the state participated in the training.
During the event, tactical teams responded to a series of complex and evolving incidents to test their capabilities. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), which manages ‘Tactical Week,’ modeled scenarios after real-world SWAT responses. This year, the New York City Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit and the New York State Police’s Special Operations Response Team provided instructional support for this event to enhance intrastate coordination and collaboration.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “New York faces one of the nation’s most diverse threat landscapes and it's critical our first responders have access to high-quality training that prepares them to face any challenge. During Tactical Week, we’re proud to deliver that training as tactical teams from around the state are put through a battery of scenarios that test and strengthen their coordination, communication, and integration skills.”
DHSES has a long history of supporting New York’s law enforcement specialty teams through various grant programs. In addition to providing support to the state’s FBI-certified bomb squads and explosive detection canine teams, DHSES has allocated $15.3 million to support New York’s tactical teams since 2013. This program funding has contributed to 35 teams attaining New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services certification.
The following law enforcement teams from around New York State participated in the training:
Buffalo Police Department
Erie County Sherriff’s Office
New Rochelle Police Department
Suffolk County Police Department
Syracuse Police Department
Utica METRO SWAT
Each team consisted of six members plus a team leader, responding to different skills lanes and scenarios throughout the week, including:
React to Contact: In this scenario, after shots were fired, participating tactical teams reacted to this contact and rescued a downed officer. Buffalo Police Department tactical team leaders led this skill lane in CityScape.
Hostage Rescue Tactics: Participating tactical teams responded to a complex hostage situation in the CityScape courthouse. Syracuse Police Department tactical team leaders led this skill lane.
DHSES also included a competitive element to this training where teams were judged on their time and performance throughout the event, with a winning team designated at the end of the week. New this year, Tactical Week features a keynote presentation on mental health resiliency on June 15. Travis Gribble, a retired law enforcement officer with a SWAT background from Mesa, Ariz., delivered this important presentation. This presentation support’s the Division’s training workshops on ‘Managing Staff Stress & Promoting Workforce Resilience’ for New York’s public safety personnel.
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, “We are proud to train side by side with our partner agencies, working toward the same goal of providing the best protection and service for all New Yorkers. Continued tactical training is crucial for law enforcement to learn the latest techniques so they can respond to and diminish a critical incident quickly and effectively. I thank the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for providing this resource to continue to keep our state safe.”
Buffalo Police Department Police Commissioner Joseph A. Gramaglia said, "Having the opportunity to have our SWAT team work along with other teams across the state is a great opportunity to show case our team’s talents and learn from the other teams. These are troubled times and when SWAT officers are called into action, we want them at their best and this challenge provides the setting to be better. Thank you to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for putting all of these teams together."
Syracuse Police Department Police Chief Joseph Cecile said, "From Hollywood, Florida, to Uvalde, Texas, to our own backyard, where a large gathering recently came to a violent end with 13 people either shot, stabbed or struck by motor vehicles -- it is clearer now than ever before, just how crucial tactical training is for law enforcement professionals around the country. Tactical teams face increasingly complex challenges. The high-level training tactical team professionals receive at facilities like the State Preparedness Training Center is more critical than ever before. Thank you to the State Preparedness Training Center for keeping our SWAT team up to the challenge in the ever-changing world of tactical training."
Utica Police Department Captain James Holt said, “The current law enforcement threat environment is complex and ever evolving often demanding the need for a tactical team comprised of highly trained law enforcement officers to contain, mitigate, and ultimately end the threat. Continuous training helps tactical teams practice their decision-making skills to ensure a successful outcome. Tactical Week gives teams the opportunity to demonstrate their tactics and learn nationally accepted best practices.”
About the State Preparedness Training Center
New York State is home to one of the premier first responder training facilities in the nation – the State Preparedness Training Center (SPTC) in Oriskany. Located on 1,100 acres, the SPTC offers an extensive series of realistic training venues, a Swift Water and Flood Training (SWFT) venue, a 45,000 square foot CityScape complex, and an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) simulator. From classroom lectures and discussions to skill development lanes to reality and high-performance scenario-based training, the SPTC offers state, local, and federal agencies a spectrum of opportunities for dynamic emergency first responder training.
About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.