Multnomah County CERT
The MCSO Corrections Division is the organization responsible for the safe operation of the five correctional facilities and Juvenile Justice Center that lay within the borders Multnomah County, Orgean. These facilities house over 2,000 inmates, who may become violent at any time. As a response to this threat the MCSO formed its Corrections Emergency Response Team, or CERT, in March of 1998.
The CERT is tasked with responding to any disturbance that may arise within the county's correctional facilities, or the Juvenile
Justice Center. The team also responds to disturbances on inmate transport buses and provides relief for corrections deputies
involved in major incidences.
The CERT is trained to handle emergencies ranging from cell extractions to riots, and hostage rescues. Team members are experts in team movement and close-quarter restraint of combative inmates. The CERT is capable of utilizing a wide variety of tools, ranging from battering rams to less than lethal weapons, and has a diverse assortment of munitions at its disposel should the need arise. According to the MCSO, "CERT members are selected based on their experience, training, availability and physical agility. They are required to remain in top physical shape and undergo extensive defensive tactics training. Members receive no incentive pay and are on 24-hour call-out for emergencies."
While most of the CERT call-outs have been for disturbances within the county's jails, one recent incident in particular stands out.
On July 15, 1998 the CERT team was activated and responded to the Juvenile Justice Center where 14 inmates had caused a
disturbance, and taken several hostages. To complicate matters four of the disruptive inmates had barricaded themselves in a back
room of the facility, and the entire operation was being broadcast on local TV by members of the media.
After a seven-hour standoff, MCSO CERT and the Portland Police Bureau Special Emergency Response Team (PPB SERT) initiated an assault on the facility with CS gas. They successfully regained control of the facility without injury to the hostage, and the rioting inmates who hadcuased the disturbance were taken into custody.