Emergency Response Team

The Wayne County Emergency Response Team was created after Sheriff Richard Pisciotti saw the need for a unit of officers who were specially trained to deal with  incidents that were critical in nature.  This unit would be trained in techniques and with  equipment that would not normally be offered to the rank and file.  The service would be vital in those incidents that tend to escalate exponentially and which could result in serious injury or death to one or more of the parties involved. 

Training had already begun and equipment was purchased in the early 80's, but it was not until February of 1990 that the team was officially created and officers were assigned to the unit.  When the Sheriff formally created the team it allowed a regular training schedule to be followed.  The Sheriff established a protocol in the General Orders Manual for patrol officers to follow when requesting the additional assistance.

Deputies were selected from existing employees and sent to  Critical Incident Management Training with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office.  The training emphasized the importance of teamwork in overcoming seemingly impossible tasks.  Every day started with a team project before the officers moved on to the  basic skills needed for graduation.  Deputies were challenged both physically and psychologically, with some of the days lasting as long as 20 hours.  New York State had no criteria for Critical Incident/Emergency Response/SWAT Teams so much of the training was based upon lessons learned from the much larger teams such as Onondaga.

The first years were very busy for the team.  Wayne County had experienced an influx of a drug new to the area known as "crack", introduced through the farm labor population travelling here for seasonal crops.  The ERT was assigned to assist the Special Investigations Unit that was aggressively pursuing the traffickers and executing search and arrest warrants. 

The team was dispatched outside the county as well, rendering assistance to a neighboring municipality when a white supremacist group exercised their constitutional right to public assembly and free speech.  Those with opposing opinions did the same. 

The team currently trains every three weeks in various topics related to tasks they perform.  These topics include specialized weapons, advanced control techniques, defensive tactics, land navigation, chemical agents, covert maneuvers, and critical incident containment.

The team works closely with officers assigned duties as negotiators and periodically holds joint training sessions.  The training frequently involves scenarios and role playing.  The team also incorporates disinterested participants as elements of the training.

The team has frequently been utilized for search operations where evidence has been discarded and large area of territory has to be searched for evidence.

On January 30, 2001, the New York State Sheriff's Association recognized one of the members, Sergeant Brian Ameele, as New York State Deputy of the Year, its' highest award, at a ceremony in Albany.  The team had been involved in apprehending a Palmyra man who had barricaded himself in his home and fired over one hundred shots at police.  Sergeant Ameele was able to take the man into custody without serious injury.


Practicing skills used to defeat protestor devices


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