New Commander for County Special Response Team Named
For the City-Times
Lieutenant Benjamin Beaudoin has been selected as the new Commander of the Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT). He will be taking over from Captain Dale O’Kray, who will be stepping down as Commander to focus on his duties as Operations Division Commander at the Sheriff’s Office.
Lieutenant Beaudoin is the fifth commander since the team was formed in 1984. At that time, six Portage County Sheriff’s Office deputies were appointed and formed the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team. This was in part to be able to assist nearby Shawano County and their dealings with the Posse Comitatus. But Portage County also determined that there was a need to be able to respond to high-risk incidents that would be beyond the capabilities of the normally equipped and trained road deputies.
Since that time, the unit has evolved into the Special Response Team that is currently comprised of 22 dedicated members that includes operators (tactical team members and snipers) and crisis negotiators. In order to become an operator on the team, deputies must meet stringent physical fitness, problem solving, weapons proficiency, and peer review qualifications. Prospective negotiators, comprised of deputies, corrections officers, and communications technicians, are also subject to peer review qualifications.
Once accepted to the SRT, entry level training is given to both operators and negotiators, which is then followed up by monthly team training, where techniques, weapons, and equipment are constantly being utilized to assure each team member is operating at peak performance. Incidents such as high-risk warrant service, hostage situations, barricaded suspects, and dignitary protection are normally the types of call-outs that the SRT responds to.