West Hartford has six specialized units. They are the Emergency Services Unit, SCUBA team, Bomb Squad, Hostage Negotiation Unit, Honor Guard, and Motor Patrol.
- Bomb Squad
- Emergency Services Unit
- Honor Guard
- Hostage Negotiations
- Motor Patrol
- Tactical & Protective Medicine Branch
On call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, officers assigned to the Hartford/West Hartford Police Bomb Squad are prepared at all times to handle emergency situations involving suspected explosives or hazardous materials. They are one of only three bomb squads in the state.
To qualify for the assignment, officers must be certified through the FBI and at the U.S. Army's Hazardous Devices School. They receive a minimum of 40 hours additional training for rectification each year.
Members are aided in their work by a highly advanced robot that can take the place of a technician and therefore significantly reduce the personal risk traditionally associated with bomb detection, removal and detonation. While designed primarily for bomb disposal work, the robot can be armed and used to make entry into potentially life-threatening situations.
Because of the Bomb Squad's training, their use of state-of-the-art technology and their affiliation with Sandia National Laboratory --the nation's top laboratory, they are considered to be one of the best trained units in the country.
Contact Lieutenant Peter Juda 860-570-8999 x87298.
HISTORY AND ORIGINS
The West Hartford Emergency Service Unit saw its’ origins start in 1944. It was originally created as a small group of Officers with specialized vehicles and equipment to handle major or large scale accidents, natural disasters, and other local and regional incidents of a service nature. It was called the Emergency Service Squad and it began to evolve over time. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, it morphed into the Tactical Response Team, and then SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) as the missions began to be of a more criminal nature. In 2013, it adopted the Emergency Service Unit name to reflect the ongoing mission to respond to, be trained and prepared for any occurrence, be it criminal or service based in nature.
The mission of the West Hartford Police Department ESU is to respond to a myriad of calls for service. From barricaded subjects, to hostage rescue, to disaster relief support, to crowd control, to warrant service involving weapons, to Presidential or dignitary protection, to drug enforcement, to regional training coordination, the West Hartford ESU has a national reputation as one of the finest and most well trained ESU teams in the country. The West Hartford ESU, as it names reflects, is ready and able to respond to any emergency in the town in a very short amount of time.
Candidates for the position of ESU Operator are put through a rigorous selection process led by the WHPD Chief of Police. Job performance evaluations, supervisor recommendations, length of service, a detailed and arduous physical fitness test and oral interview, as well as a performance evaluation of firearms and equipment proficiency are some of the tools used to select Officers for a position on the WHPD ESU. Historically, ESU Officers bring a bevy of real world experience and have been former military servicemen, Paramedics, Bi-lingual, college educated, former collegiate athletes as well as many residing in West Hartford with their families. There are currently 17 members of the WHPD ESU. It is commanded by a Lieutenant, who answers directly to the Assistant Chief and Chief of Police of the WHPD.
The West Hartford ESU trains 16 hours a month per the recommended standards of NTOA (National Tactical Officers Association). Another 8 hours is allocates to marksmanship training and 8 more for explosive entry training. Our ESU Officers are trained in marksmanship, physical fitness, dynamic entries, hostage rescue, firearms use and accuracy, operation of emergency rescue devices like hydraulic splitters and saws, rescue vehicle operation, warrant service, crowd control, endangered/missing person search and rescue, negotiations and a number of other relevant skill sets. ESU members are tested every three months in order to maintain their proficiency.
The WHPD ESU team played a vital role in the Strom Sandy emergency operations support and aid. The unit delivered meals to the elderly and informed, provided transport and support to stranded in-need residents, cleared roadways and took on any role asked of it to aid the towns-people of West Hartford. The WHPD ESU created and runs the Connecticut SWAT Challenge, the 2nd largest SWAT training event in the United States. It has trained thousands of Military, Medical, Police and ESU personnel throughout the United States in every facet of emergency operations. It regularly works within West Hartford as well as in joint-regional incidents where additional assets are needed.
Contact Captain Jeremy Clark at 860-570-8970.
The Honor Guard presents a highly polished, professional image. The unit serves an important function that commands respect from fellow departments and from the community as a whole.
The Hostage Negotiations Unit responds to crisis situations requiring tactful communication between the police and the suspect. Whether they are called into a difficult domestic situation or an armed stand-off, their goal is to reduce tension and resolve crisis without violence. Trained in conjunction with SWAT, members of this unit take additional courses offered by the FBI and other agencies in basic and advanced hostage negotiations, crisis intervention and aggressive behavior management. Members are knowledgeable in the traditions of various cultures and are fluent in several languages.
On October 7, 2006 the annual Park Road Parade marked the first day of use of the police department's two new Harley Davidson motorcycles being operated by Traffic Division. The police motorcycles were purchased through a $60,000 grant from the Department of Transportation.
The West Hartford Police Department first began using motorcycles on October 7, 1923 when it acquired a 4-cylinder Henderson. The motorcycles were discontinued in 1985. The parade marked the 83rd anniversary of the return of department's original motorcycle unit. The new motor units are being used for traffic enforcement details.
For more information contact the Commander of Motor Unit Lieutenant Peter Juda.
The mission of the West Hartford Police Department’s Tactical & Protective Medicine Branch (TPMB) is to provide Law Enforcement personnel with the medical knowledge and tactical skills necessary to increase survival rates for both Officers and civilians during critical incidents.
The Tactical and Protective Medicine Branch was established as a highly specialized deployable training group to translate life savings skills developed in the military to practical application for civilian law enforcement, fire and EMS responders. The curriculum utilizes nationally recognized training standards from both Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) and its civilian counterpart, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC).
TPMB continues to strive to provide quality training approved by the Connecticut Police Officer’s Standard and Training Counsel (POSTC) for Police Officer’s continuing education credits.
The instructors are comprised of a group of highly trained and decorated Law Enforcement Officer’s, Naval Special Warfare Operators and Physicians/Medical Directors, who are recognized as experts in their fields.
The TPMB is also responsible for conducting quality assurance for the greater than 6,000 medical calls responded to by the West Hartford Police Department each year, in their role as medical first responders for the town.
Seminars and bulletin releases are available to Law Enforcement Agencies on topics including the Tactical Combat Lifesaver course, Diving Medicine, Blast Injuries and Narcotic Updates.
Please contact Officer Brian Wallace for more information at 860-570-8812.