The Rochester Police Department started it’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in 1983 with 10 officers. Over the years the team has expanded to include Deputies from the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Paramedics from Gold Cross Ambulance and dispatchers from the Rochester Police Communications Center. Currently there are 19 Rochester Police Officers, six Olmsted County Deputies and three Public Safety Dispatchers on the team. The Unit includes a six-person sniper/scout team.
The ERU is responsible handling high risk situations. These include hostage situation, barricaded suspects, suicidal persons, high risk warrant services (both arrest and search warrants) and civil disturbances. Dignitary protection and other special assignments are also handled by the ERU.
To be assigned on the ERU, officers must pass a physical fitness test and score above 95% on the firearms test. The officers then must complete an interview with the ERU supervisors. The members of the team are primarily assigned to various area of the department including patrol, investigations, and training. The assignment is voluntary and the officers are on call 24 hours a day.
ERU team members complete a minimum of 96 hours of training each year in the areas of building entry training, door and window breaching using specialized tools, diversionary devices, chemical munitions, specialized weapons, including H&K MP-5 SMG, and M-16 rifles, and downed officer/citizen rescue. In addition, each fall the team has an intensive four-day training at a military training facility.