ISP team conducts exercise in Greencastle

Friday, May 27, 2011
Members of the Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team prepare to make entry to Hayes Murphy Sharp & Brackney during a mock hostage situation in Greencastle recently.

It wasn't a normal morning of business at Hayes Murphy Sharp & Brackney Insurance recently.

Instead, the Greencastle business was the site of an Indiana State Police Emergency Response Team (ERT) exercise.

The ERT is a full-time assignment for an elite group of ISP troopers devoted to high-risk incidents such as hostage situations, barricaded subjects, prison disturbances and rescue missions.

The mock incident was a hostage situation in the agency in which an armed man had taken five hostages and shot another man in the parking lot.

Over a period of several hours, members of the team, along with ISP negotiators and other specialists, worked to free the hostages and bring about a peaceful resolution.

Ultimately, all hostages were freed, and the suspect took his own life. Investigators then made entry into the building to inspect it further.

Acting out a volatile scenario, every move the team made during the exercise was deliberate. Acts as seemingly simple as dropping a phone or food for the hostages inside the front door turn into complex operations as authorities try to assure everyone's safety.

Following the drill, the team presented a plaque and photograph to the HMSB staff in gratitude for the use of the building and for sponsoring the team at a recent competition.

To be part of the ERT, members must demonstrate proficiency in weapons and specialized equipment, unarmed defense techniques, building entry and clearance, rappelling and field search.

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