By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Candidates for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Response Team (RCSD-SRT) were put through the paces last week as they worked toward mastering the finer points of close-quarters-battle (CQB) techniques and other special tactics at both the Columbia Fire Academy and RCSD’s weapons range. The weeklong SRT training was held to certify the participating RCSD deputies as SRT-qualified.

“They’re learning to physically breach doors and other entryways with special hand-tools from battering rams to pry bars and Halligan bars,” says RCSD Lt. Dominick Pagano, a former U.S. Army parachute infantryman who today serves as tactical commander of RCSD’s SRT. “That and they’re demonstrating proficiency in ballistic-shield entry techniques and use of the FSDD [Flash Sound Diversionary Device] commonly known as flash bangs.”

That was just a morning portion of one block of training. The rest of the week included response to “officer down” scenarios, tactical rifle, tactical pistol, chemical environment, rooming clearing, and operations in low light conditions among other CQB training blocks.

The SRT candidates have already been training with experienced SRT operators for months, and that will continue.

SWAT-team deputies with the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and soldiers with the Fort Jackson Provost Marshal’s Office (military police) also participated in the training all of which was conducted by RCSD’s SRT.

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