The Lenawee County Law Enforcement Emergency Response Team has ceased operations and will no longer be available for emergency calls from county law enforcement agencies.
The team was formed in 1999 as a combined effort between officers from the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office, Adrian Police Department and the Tecumseh Police Department. The team members received special training and equipment which prepared them for incidents involving barricaded gunmen, hostage situations, high risk drug search warrants, etc. An associated Hostage Negotiation Team is also ceasing operation.
Sheriff Jack Welsh, Chief Terry Collins, and Chief Troy Stern all agreed that the increasingly severe budget limitations placed on their departments resulted in a situation where a choice had to be made between having patrol cars on the road or training sessions for team members. Due to the specialized skills the team possessed, members were required to attend day-long training sessions on a monthly basis.
Over the years, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) had obtained a large supply of necessary equipment and weapons. The decision was made to store the items in case the team could be reactivated in the future when budget conditions improve.
With the loss of the ERT, Lenawee County police agencies will have to rely on either the state police or a nearby county to obtain an Emergency Response or SWAT team. The sheriff and chiefs express concern about delays associated with calling an out-of-county team. Potential delays were a large part of the reason Lenawee County’s team was formed.
ERT was authorized to operate with a total of 18 officers. However, due to budget cuts reducing the number of officers each department employed, the active officers had dropped to 14.