Special Events/Emergency Response
In today’s era of emergency planning, it is obvious that a more coordinated law enforcement response to local and national-level disasters must be developed. Law enforcement agencies across the State of Texas and the nation are training mildly and alone. This is in direct contrast to the goals of the National Incident Management System. The National Incident Management System requires any organization that could be called on to respond during an incident to “participate in realistic exercises including multidisciplinary and multi-jurisdictional events and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations interaction – to improve integration and interoperability.” The Fort Worth Police Department’s Special Events/Emergency Response (SEER), is dedicated to increasing the ability of the Fort Worth Police Department to respond to all hazards and emergencies both locally and beyond.
The mission of SEER is, “To plan, train and prepare for all hazards and emergencies which may threaten lives and property in the City of Fort Worth. SEER responds to both planned events and emergency situations to support and facilitate the Incident Management System.”
SEER is responsible for coordinating and planning all emergency preparedness and disaster response issues for the Fort Worth Police Department. SEER responsibilities include, but are not limited to, five major areas of emergency preparedness: Incident Management Operations, Organization of Rapid Deployment Teams, Training, Equipment Management, and Rehabilitation and Hydration of Officers.
Incident Management Operations
Incident Management Operations is important to understand and use on a consistent basis. This system is outlined by the National Incident Management System as the accepted method of operating a planned event or emergency situation. To better coordinate and communicate with other agencies of the State of Texas and the various federal organizations, an in depth understanding of the Incident Management System is essential. SEER is responsible for training and organizing Incident Management Teams that are familiar with the Incident Management System.
Organization of Rapid Deployment Teams
Rapid Deployment Teams are groups of sworn officers who are ready for quick deployment for all types of duties that may be required during different emergencies. Some examples of the duties for which the Rapid Deployment Teams may be called upon are SWAT tactics, personal protection, convoy protection, perimeter control, search and rescue, WMD response, crowd control and more. Rapid Deployment Teams are an elite group chosen through a selection process and are equipped and trained to perform these duties. The SEER Unit oversees the coordination and training of the Rapid Deployment Teams which consist of a supervisor and several officers on each team. This provides for a scalable response capable of deploying as little or as many people as needed.
It is vital that each and every police officer who responds to an incident of any magnitude is familiar with the Incident Management System and their role in the process. The SEER Unit oversees training for the department’s first responding officers and for the Rapid Deployment Teams on courses related to emergency preparedness and incident command. SEER seeks training from a variety of sources including training that is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, other federal grants and the State of Texas. SEER brings training providers to the City of Fort Worth. SEER also organizes multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional training and scenario opportunities.
SEER is responsible for the maintenance and scheduling of any equipment that could be utilized for a disaster or emergency. The resources available include, but are not limited to, the Mobile Command Vehicle, Community Operations Centers, Operational Support Vehicles, Sky Watch Towers and Mule vehicles. All equipment maintained by SEER is ready for deployment at all times.
Rehabilitation and Hydration of Officer
One responsibility of SEER is to address the needs of the officers engaged in an emergency situation. This portion of SEER is not limited to major incidents that require deployment of the command vehicle or the activation of a full Incident Management Team. Maintaining the safety and health of responding officers is of great importance regardless of the size of the incident. Providing a location for officers to relax and cool down proves essential for incidents of long durations. If the incident is not large scale but time consuming, officers can be hydrated on the scene or provided short breaks. This is especially necessary with incidents that occur in extremely hot or very cold days. Rehabilitation and hydration of officers is primarily completed by volunteer organizations who are willing to deploy to the scene of an incident to assist law enforcement. These organizations operate in an incident under the direction and coordination of the SEER Unit.