Connecticut Department of Corrections - Special Operations Unit
The Connecicut Department of Corrections (CTDOC) is responsible for housing individuals convicted of committing felonies within the state of Connecticut. It's mission statements reads that “The Department of Correction shall protect the public, protect staff, and ensure a secure, safe and humane environment for offenders in a climate that promotes professionalism, respect, integrity, dignity and excellence.
To conduct its mission the CTDOC is organized into several departments including Operations, Security, External Operations, Programs & Treament, and an Administrative Division. The Operations Division maintains a number of facilities throughout various parts the state. These facilities are assigned security levels depending on the inmates housed within the facility, with level I being the lowest and level V being the highest. Many of the individuals sentanced to these facilities have been convicted of committing a wide range of violent crimes ranging from assault to rape and murder. Even though they are no longer able to roam the streets, they still may reamin a threat to facility staff members who must interact with them on a dialy basis; other inmates within the facility; or to the general public in the event of an escape.
To deal with the possibility of an inmate escape, riot, or hostage situation, the CTDOC has established a number of specilized emergency response and tactical units. These units are currently grouped together within the Department's Special Operations Unit.
Formally known as the Tactical Operations Unit, the Special Operations Unit's stated mission is “ To provide the Commissioner of Correction with a contingent of specially trained and equipped personnel, that is fully prepared at all times to rapidly respond to emergency situations within the Department of Correction. Through the utilization of the least amount of force that is necessary, the Unit is ready to restore safety, security and order to an affected correctional facility.
The Special Operations Unit, which was originally formed as a 30 man Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) in March 1982, is currently composed of the North and South District Correctional Emergency Response Teams (CERT), The Special Operation Group (SOG) hostage rescue team, Situational Control (SITCON) Hostage Negotiation Team, Canine Unit (currently composed of 20 dog-handler teams), Armory Operation, and the Firearm Training Unit.
Operating under the control of the Chief of Tactical Operations, a Major, the Special Operations Unit uses some of the latest technologies and weapons systems to accomplish its mission. In addition to mobile command post, the SITCON Team has several ITT hostage negotiator throw phones available for use, while the Firearms Training Unit makes use of a mobile range facility.
The unit's CERT, SOG, and K-9 operators are equipped with AN/PVS –7 night vision goggles SIG-Sauer 9mm pistols, Colt CAR-15 5.56 mm rifles outfitted with C-more holographic scopes and Surefire tactical lights. Several of the rifles have also been equipped with sound suppressors. They also have access to a wide range of less lethal munitions.
Operators are outfitted in black military style BDU's, Kevlar “Fritz” ballistic helmets, American Body Armor (ABA) Kevlar tactical vests, tactical assault boots of various manufacture, rappelling gear, and other equipment as necessary.
The unit conducts a varied training program to keep it personnel up to date on a wide range of subjects. These courses include: Tactical Basic Training, Advanced Tactical Training, Tactical Instructor Training, Command & Control Training, Command Leadership Training, Category I & II Chemical Agent/Impact Weapon Officer and Distraction Device Course, PR24 Instructor Course, and Firearms Instructor Course.
Special Thanks to Major Bruce M. Bussiere