By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Candidates for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Response Team (RCSD-SRT) are being put through the paces this week as they master the finer points of close-quarters-battle (CQB) techniques and other special tactics at both the Columbia Fire Academy and RCSD’s weapons range. The weeklong SRT training will certify the participating RCSD deputies as SRT-qualified.
“They’re learning to physically breach doors and other entryways with special hand-tools from battering rams to pry bars and Halligan bars,” says RCSD Lt. Dominick Pagano, a former U.S. Army parachute infantryman who today serves as tactical commander of RCSD’s SRT. “That and they’re demonstrating proficiency in ballistic-shield entry techniques and use of the FSDD [Flash Sound Diversionary Device] commonly known as flash bangs.”
That’s just a morning portion of Wednesday’s training. The rest of the week includes response to “officer down” scenarios, tactical rifle, tactical pistol, chemical environment, rooming clearing, and operations in low light conditions among other CQB training blocks.
The SRT candidates have already been training with experienced SRT operators for months.
SWAT-team deputies with the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and soldiers with the Fort Jackson Provost Marshal’s Office (military police) are also participating in the training all of which is being conducted by RCSD’s SRT.
W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a special deputy with the Richland County Sheriff’s Dept.