The Vancouver Police Department's Emergency Response Team (ERT) uses a combination of specialized training, equipment, tactics and negotiation strategies in its efforts to safely resolve high-risk incidents, which often involve some type of weapon or firearm, such as a hostage-taking or a person who has barricaded themselves.
ERT also assists many other investigative and law enforcement units, dealing with armed and dangerous people or the execution of high-risk search warrants. In addition, ERT provides specialized tactical training to over 1300 sworn police officers as part of an ongoing commitment to ensuring the added safety of both officers and the general public.
The Team was formed in 1975, in preparation for the World Habitat Forum, which took place in Vancouver in 1976. Since that time, the team has undergone significant changes, working with equipment that is more sophisticated and a more modern training program.
Today, the Emergency Response Team has 40 tactical members, and is assisted by 16 ERT-trained dog handlers, 24 crisis negotiators, a grouping of technical specialists, five critical incident commanders and an in-house ERT commander who oversees the team’s daily operations.
Some of the specialized environments they operate in include:
High Angle Operations - dealing with suspects and/or victims in high angle situations, which include high-rise buildings and rooftops, bridges and cranes, balconies, and other man-made and natural structures at height; members rappel, climb, and offer fall protection
Marine Interdiction – assisting the VPD Marine Squad or other agencies to board vessels that may have dangerous persons aboard
Rural Operations – safely resolving critical incidents that happen in forest or mountain areas
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) / Clan Lab Operations – using SCBA in hazardous chemical situations, such as drug labs
Explosive Disposal Unit – the Team has it’s own in-house explosive technicians
ERT also maintains specialized equipment, including its own Armoured Rescue Vehicle (ARV), which was purchased with the generous support of the Vancouver Police Foundation.
One of the more notable and tragic events in the team’s history dates back to February 2, 1987, when ERT team leader Sergeant Larry Young was killed during the execution of a high-risk search warrant. To this day, the team continues to keep his memory alive by hosting an annual run, with funds raised going to provide educational scholarships in his memory.
The Vancouver Police Emergency Response Team uses updated and intensive training, along with state-of-the-art equipment, to ensure they are ready to meet any challenge they may encounter.
Larry Young Memorial Run
The 2016 Larry Young Memorial 5K Run takes place on Sunday, May 29th this year.