S hortly after becoming the first group to train at the new Warren-Washington County Emergency Services Training Center in Queensbury, members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team put some of their prior training to work.
“We went right from there to the search up in Putnam,” team commander Bryn Reynolds said. “We were searching for the guy in the woods.”
Reynolds, who lives in Granville, is certified by the New York State Tactical Officers Association as a woodlands operations trainer, and he has put his 14-member unit through training in that area before.
The call to Putnam was a search for a Ticonderoga man accused of shooting another. The man’s body was later found in Ticonderoga.
The training the team was doing July 16 was in rappelling. Reynolds is a member of the Vermont National Guard and two colleagues from his unit came over to train the team in descending from a roof on rope lines. “I have done it a lot, but for some of the guys, it was the first time they did it. It was a good training.”
It was only a small example of the kind of training the SERT members get during the year. Reynolds estimates they train more than once a month and respond to 10 to 12 incidents each year.
SERT is responsible for serving high-risk warrants, transporting dangerous prisoners and responding to hostage situations and incidents in which a suspect has barricaded himself in a building.
While the sheriff’s office had a tactical team for the jail years ago, Reynolds was tapped to start this team in 2005. The team also has a physician’s assistant, a former Navy corpsman, assigned to it for medical purposes.
Reynolds, also a certified tactical team leader, comes up with a variety of drills for his unit. The team has trained in the Granville schools for a simulated school hostage incident and also trains in all the other skills they need for their assignments.
Not only is Reynolds a Granville resident, so are two deputies on the team, Dave Buxton and Tim Carroll.
Likes the new place
Reynolds expects to be back at the county training center and was impressed with the first run through.
“It’s going to be a great asset,” Reynolds said of the two-story building and the wooded site of more than 30 acres. “I know the first thought is of this as a fire training center, but it’s great for the road patrols, too. We can practice entries and clearing buildings.”
One of the things Reynolds really likes is that the walls in the training building can be configured in a variety of ways.
“It’s never the same building twice,” he said. “There are only so many places we can train, and honestly, sometimes the guys memorize them.
“But we’re always going in cold when we respond. We try to get as much information on buildings as we can, but it’s never 100 percent correct. This will help us.”
Reynolds is also looking forward to doing his woodland operations for SWAT at the site.
“Washington County is rural,” he said. “We need to be ready to work in the woods.”