Rantoul, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) officials and specialized units participated in a multi-agency preparedness exercise coordinated by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) on Thursday, April 11, 2013
The State Weapons of Mass Destruction Team (SWMDT) held its semi-annual exercise at Chanute Airbase in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies. The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit conducted a high-risk entry in support of the exercise focusing on human threat response using explosive breaching, dynamic entry and apprehension of suspects armed with a simulated weapon of mass destruction.
The semi-annual training is designed to challenge the SWMDT’s ability to effectively train and lead unit members to deploy their specialized skills in the event of a terrorist threat.
Led by State Police Special Operations, the SWMDT was designated by a Governor's mandate in 2000 to prepare for a unified response to any nuclear, chemical, or biological threat in Illinois using teams of explosive ordinance disposal, scientists, medical, and intelligence specialists. ISP’s Special Operations also commands the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit, and has the ability to deploy ISP SWAT resources to address human threats, followed by a multi-agency response to prevent and/or mitigate any Weapons of Mass Destruction threat.
The SWMDT is comprised of approximately 110 specially trained staff throughout Illinois and various agencies including the Illinois State Police, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, National Guard's Civil Support Team, Secretary of State's Bomb Squad, Department of Public Health, Department of Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team. The SWMDT is funded through Homeland Security Federal Grant Funds.
“The SWMDT is an integral part of the Special Operations Command’s mission to provide public safety when danger escalates,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Their mission requires a high state of readiness and strong capability to prevent, respond and neutralize threats throughout the state,” he added.
Every year, ISP SWAT along with the rest of the Illinois SWMDT conducts monthly training and planning activities which involve a variety of high-risk operations, response, and preparedness tactics. Many of their training and response techniques were successfully applied during the 2012 NATO Summit. The live training exercise is the largest conducted this year and challenges the unit’s ability on rules of engagement, apprehension, communications, and WMD response in a potentially explosive or contaminated environment.
“Our mission priorities are focused on exceeding the highest standards of tactical performance to be prepared for the unexpected,” said ISP Special Operations Lieutenant Sean Cormier. “ISP SWAT officers are well trained and capable of handling the most demanding and difficult operational scenarios,” he added.
ISP SWAT and SWMDT are fully certified as the State’s law enforcement response for any type of tactical or hazardous crisis and are dedicated 24 hours.
ISP SWAT makes 2nd floor dynamic entry