Military and Police

SWAT Week for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department

In Columbia, South Carolina, candidates for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Response Team (RCSD-SRT) are being put through the paces this week as they master 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 will 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.

(Credit: Richland County Sheriff’s Office)

“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,” Lt. Pagano added.

That’s just a morning portion of Wednesday’s training. The rest of the week includes response to “officer down” scenarios, tactical rifle and pistol handling, chemical environment response, room 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.

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

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W. Thomas Smith Jr.

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a formerly deployed U.S. Marine rifle squad (infantry) leader, a shipboard counterterrorism instructor, and a SWAT team officer in the nuclear industry. A retired Col. (O-6) in the S.C. Military Dept., Smith founded the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team, and he is a technical consultant for films which have aired on The Military Channel. A New York Times bestselling editor; Smith’s travels have taken him across the globe. His work has appeared in The New York Post, U.S. News & World Report, Human Events, BusinessWeek, POLICEONE, Marine Corps Times, S.W.A.T. magazine, BLACK BELT, and many others. He is a former advisor to the S.C. Governor’s Military Base Task Force, and a special deputy with the Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff's Dept.

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