On May 25, 1999, the Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff's Department entered into an agreement which created the Washington County Special Response Team. Prior to this, only the Hagerstown Police Department operated such a unit. Now, members of both agencies participate as team members. This enables a pooling of resources and manpower previously inaccessible.
The Washington County Special Response Team (SRT) is a specially trained and equipped unit of officers and deputies from various units within each agency. It is designed to respond to and resolve situations requiring skills, training, and equipment not typically available to the average police officer.
A history of this effort begins in the late 70's in which police departments throughout the country found a need for officers trained to handle situations such as hostage takers, snipers, execution of high risk drug search and seizure warrants, apprehension of known violent criminals, and to provide protection to V.I.P.'s. These are the duties of the Washington County Special Response Team.
Membership on the WCSRT is strictly voluntary. Officers and deputies wishing to be considered for membership must first fulfill specific qualifications prior to consideration. These officers constantly undergo intense practical firearms training, tactical exercises, and classroom education. Within the unit, individual officers specialize in counter sniper tactics, chemical munitions, and stun munitions. The effectiveness of the WCSRT is based upon the members' ability to work together utilizing methods of operation learned and practiced as a team.