Clearwater SO and IDOC team up for training

CERT members in school hallway with deputy
CCSO Dep. Mark Salsbury with CERT members

People driving down Orofino’s Michigan Avenue last Thursday, July 10, may have noticed something unusual going on at the elementary school. Personnel from the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) and the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) trained together for something they hope never happens in Orofino, a hostage situation.

The mock scenario was coordinated by Chief Deputy Rick Miller. You can see photos of the joint training here.

As the exercise progressed, the Sheriff’s office contacted the Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino, requesting assistance from their regional Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) and their Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT). Both teams consist of IDOC staff from the Orofino and Cottonwood prisons. The teams were activated and reported to the Sheriff’s Incident Command Center, located near the hostage situation. Upon arrival, Incident Commander, Sergeant Ben Salsbury, used CCSO personnel, both prison teams, and probation and parole personnel, to bring the situation to a peaceful resolution. He also used various specialized equipment from both agencies.

CNT commander and overall coordinator of the day’s training, Lieutenant Greg Heun, reported the training was a big success for his team. “We arrived on the scene and the Sheriff’s Office already had a Search & Rescue vehicle set up for my team to run negotiation operations from. Due to some technical problems, the team had to move into a decommissioned ambulance also on site for the drill. The team did great, improvising as the situation unfolded. We learned where we need improvement in equipment use and refining communications with Incident Command and the combined tactical teams (CERT & CCSO deputies).” Heun added, “That is what training like this is all about; finding the issues and correcting them.”

Chief Deputy Rick Miller said his department gained a lot of good experience from working with the IDOC regional response teams (CNT & CERT). He had the opportunity to try out some of the latest high-tech equipment the CCSO has obtained.

The Idaho Department of Correction Crisis Negotiation and Correctional Emergency Response teams’ primary mission is to be ready for any situation involving state-run prisons.

Both agencies wanted to recognize the Orofino School District, for allowing the training at the elementary school.

Story published: 07/17/2014
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