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Ironton Police Department forming special response team

When Ironton Police Chief Jim Carey approached the Ironton City Council Thursday night with two officers dressed in riot gear and carrying assault rifles, someone joked the chief was there to talk about his budget.

Actually, the officers and Carey were there to tell council about the Special Response Team being formed within the police department.

The SRT will handle high-risk calls that are generally beyond the scope of the average patrol calls, such as barricaded suspects, hostage situations, personal and dignitary protection, service of high risk search and arrest warrants, and active shooter response.

Carey said two individuals have already completed basic SWAT training through the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy. Four will complete the training by the end of July.

The six officers are Sgt. Anthony Forrest and patrolmen Jamie Pruitt, Mitch Crum, Steve Wilson, John Hammond and Chad Artrip. Additionally, Sgt. Pam Neal Wagner has been trained in hostage negotiations and will get more advanced training later this year. Carey said he hopes to have the SRT in place by the end of September.

“I hope and pray we never have to use it but there have been times in the past when we could have,” Carey told city council.

Much of the funding for the special training and gear is coming from donations. The Eagles and Elks clubs have donated as well as Sam’s Club and Walmart. The officers have purchased their own weapons.