Columbia County Sheriff's Office Emergency Response Team (ERT) was founded in
late 1988 and early 1989. The presence of a highly-trained, highly-skilled law
enforcement tactical unit has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of
injury or loss of life to citizens, law enforcement officers, and suspects. A
well-managed team response usually results in quicker and more successful
resolutions to critical incidents. It is the intent of the Columbia County Sheriff’s
Office ERT to provide a highly-trained and skilled tactical unit as a resource
for the law enforcement agencies and citizens of Columbia County. The ERT began
after an early 1970's riot team was transformed into the current ERT. In 1991,
the ERT was trained by the FBI in modern tactics for search and rescue as well
as the use of special weapons and tactics. The team has continued to receive
regular monthly training to prepare its members to safely resolve high-risk
situations. Some situations the ERT may face include high-risk, barricaded person
and persons using threats, weapons and/or hostages to avoid contact with law
enforcement. The ERT also is called on to serve high-risk warrants and crowd
control situations. The ERT trains to meet these high-risk challenges through
the use of individual defensive tactics, automated robotics, less-lethal
tactics including irritating gas, electronic stun guns, K-9's, beanbags, and
when other force options have been precluded, lethal options. The ERT must also
train to meet these challenges wherever they may occur such as in a structure,
wooded area, or a vehicle.
currently is a multijurisdictional team comprised of 16 members from the
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Dells Police Department, and the Marquette County Sheriff's Office. The ERT consists of a Team Commander, Team Leader, Assistant
Team Leader, Snipers and Entry/Containment personnel. The team is a voluntary
position within the Sheriff's Office with no additional pay for belonging. The
ERT is supported by a Hostage Negotiator Team and Tactical EMS (TEMS)
In 2001, the
ERT was given approval for a Tactical Emergency Medical Unit to be formed
to assist the ERT with close medical support in call outs and in training.
Currently the ERT has three paramedics assigned to the team from Dells / Delton
EMS. Assignment to the team is a voluntary position for the paramedics
increasing their knowledge and skill level by working in a tactical environment
providing immediate medical assistance.The TEMS
have assisted with calls out in Columbia, Adams and Sauk Counties, as well as
the City of Madison.
mid 1990’s, the ERT was able to obtain a retired armored truck for $10.00. The
vehicle has served well over the years as a protective barrier to deploy the
ERT to extract/evacuate people from volatile tactical situations. In 2015, the ERT was able to obtain at no
cost an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) with greater protective abilities than
the armored truck could afford. This
“new” ERV has already been deployed in situations to protect members from
potential violent threats and inclimate weather.
members of the ERT are on call for emergency situations 24 hours a day, 365
days a year. The members are on a pager system, which provides for a rapid
response in emergencies.
For more information call Chief Deputy Greg Bisch (608) 742-4166.