The Lancaster Police Department's Special Response Team (SRT) was created in 1992 to execute drug offense related search warrants. Initially, several officers were sent to the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police basic SWAT school to receive training in tactical techniques. Since then, additional standards and requirements have been enacted to determine the fitness and suitability of all SRT members.
The success of the SRT in serving search warrants prompted an expansion of the unit. Additional officers were trained and assigned to the team. The team then began to be deployed in hostage / barricade incidents. The department purchased special weapons and equipment and scheduled monthly training exercises.
The SRT later added a negotiation component to the unit. The negotiation team currently has 3 trained negotiators who strive to peacefully resolve all high-risk incidents. The negotiators maintain a specialized "hostage phone" for communications with barricaded persons.
Today's SRT consists of 12 officers, an EMT, and 3 negotiators. Team members receive continuing training and participate in the annual countywide disaster drill. The SRT hosted a statewide training exercise in May 2001.
Since its inception, the Special Response Team has successfully executed hundreds of arrest and search warrants. The team has also successfully resolved over thirty hostage / barricade situations. The SRT is trained and equipped to handle a wide variety of "special" calls for service. All team members are volunteers and are continuously on call in the event of an emergency within the city.
In 2008, the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police graciously donated an armored vehicle. This vehicle was repaired, restored, and placed into service in 2009 for the safety and security of SRT members during special operations.