McMinnville Police Department is establishing a critical response team.
“I think in the world today, law enforcement has a responsibility to be able and capable to respond in the event the worst-case scenario happens and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton.
The city’s discussions in establishing the critical response team began more than a year ago and the team will be ready to go this year.
“We are about six months away from going live or maybe a little earlier than that,” said Denton. “We’ve taken it slow because we want to make sure the guys are properly trained. The guys on the team have patrol duties too when they aren’t doing this. While that’s going to give them knowledge on how to handle things, we’ve had to include specialized training for this. We also needed to make sure they had the right equipment because this is serious business.”
Unit members must have extensive critical response training. All eight have undergone basic training and are currently taking advanced classes. Among the unit will be a negotiator, a trained entry team to serve high-risk warrants on individuals or enter any building where there is a high risk of danger, and a trained marksman.
The team has eight members and it consists of Marty Cantrell, Justin Cobble, Rachel Nichols, Todd Rowland, Eddie Colwell, Paul Springer, Bobby Anderson and Ben Cantrell, who is the unit commander.
“Ben will be going into the community and offering mini-seminars about the team and what it’s about,” said Denton. “He’s also going to speak about a civilian response to active shooters, how to protect yourself and what to do when those things happen. We hope they never happen, but we think it’s our responsibility for us to be prepared and to do our best to protect citizens.”
McMinnville officials have agreed to one big-ticket item, the purchase of a passenger van to transport team members and their equipment.
That measure to buy the van was passed unanimously March 8 by the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.