CERT welcomes 10 new members

CERT members face audience at end of ceremony
CERT graduates are introduced to the audience.

The Idaho Department of Correction’s Correctional Emergency Response Team welcomed 10 new members into its ranks at a graduation ceremony at Gowen Field on April 18, 2014. 

You can see photos of the ceremony here.

Warden Randy Blades, who will serve as warden of Idaho Correctional Center starting July 1, 2014, was the graduation speaker. Blades said the mission, objective and barometer of success for CERT members can be summed up in one word: readiness.

“Your alert presence and readiness as a CERT member often makes the difference between a disturbing day and a calm day,” Blades said. “I know as a warden, I want to lay my head down at night knowing that you’re ready.

Blades, who served as commander of CERT as he rose through the department’s ranks, said CERT members need to be ready in a variety of ways – from physical and mental readiness to tactical readiness.

“Stay sharp and physically fit at all times… Know your squad responsibilities. Know your tactical plans. Know your weapons systems and their capabilities. Know your rules of engagement. Know the prisons. Know the layout of the prisons.  Know your avenues of approach and your resolution plans.  Know those things and be ready,” Blades said.

Over the years, CERT has emerged as one of the top emergency response teams in the region. Last fall, the team was invited to train with its counterparts from the Meridian, Garden City and Boise police departments, as well as the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho State Police, and came away with great reviews.

CERT’s new commander, Lt. Russell Ross, says team members are committed pushing each other to new levels and this year’s graduating class reflects the team’s high standards.

“The team every year is evolving, continuing to progress so as instructors we’re getting better and I like to think we’re producing a higher quality operator every year,” said Lt. Ross.

This year’s class started with 19 potential team members or PTMs as they are referred to by instructors throughout the grueling 10-day academy. Thirteen PTMs graduated including three correctional officers from the Wyoming Department of Corrections. It does not have an emergency response team and for the past three years has sent its PTMs to Idaho for training.

Story published: 04/28/2014
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