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Special Operations Division

The mission of the Special Operations Division is to support patrol operations by developing special tactics and deploying specially trained personnel in unusual law enforcement situations and events; assisting the District Commanders with selective traffic enforcement, traffic control, accident investigation and public vehicle regulation enforcement; and coordinating with other agencies and organizational elements concerning special events and potential catastrophic situations.

The specific functions of Special Operations are listed as follows. Prioritization is extremely difficult due to the nature of the division. All branches handle extremely critical and life-saving functions.

Critical Incident Response Branch

  • Maintains liaison between Federal and Municipal governments in civil defense matters. Provides on-duty manpower for rapid deployment of crowd management situations, disasters, and unusual occurrences. Examines, deactivates, and disposes of incendiary or explosive materials.
  • Instructs the Civil Disturbance Unit on bomb identification and the handling of bomb threats. Provides training assistance to other organizational elements and outside agencies on bomb identification. Maintains liaison with the National Bomb Data Center and provides for an orderly and secure exchange of information. Establishes and maintains complete files on bombings, found objects, bomb threats, and barricade situations.
  • Responds to all barricade, hostage, criminal and political terrorist situations and provides trained personnel to resolve such incidents. Provides trained negotiators in suicide attempts. Supplies information on hostage barricade rescue operations to local and Federal law enforcement agencies.
  • Provides training sessions to local and Federal law enforcement agencies when requested. Provides supplemental assistance to the Special Events Branch for security details. Conducts security surveys of high-risk targets to prevent terrorist attacks on buildings and personnel.
  • Provides trained personnel on request for service of warrants in high-risk situations for violence.
  • Develops and presents on a continuing basis, training for physical fitness, hostage rescue, hostage negotiation, special weapons and tactics, and apprehension techniques.
  • Maintains Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU) Storeroom with the necessary equipment to insure a complete mobilization in the event of an emergency. Develops and administers a 40 hour CDU recruit school for new CDU members. Provides quarterly re-training for all active CDU members.
  • Maintains inventory on all the department's specialized weapons to include shotgun, sub-machine gun, chemical munitions, and diversionary devices.
  • Provides the Emergency Response Teams with all specialized weapons training.
  • Assists the Uniform & Equipment Board with important issues concerning the department's ammunition resources to include:
  • Street and training ammunition needs,
  • Technical specifications of ammunition,
  • Safety considerations as it applies to ammunition,
  • Innovative trends and technological advances in ammunition, and preparation of requisitions for all major ammunition, purchases, which shall be based on such considerations as cost and best interests of the department.

Tactical Patrol Branch

  • Air Support, Canine Patrol, and Harbor Patrol Units support and enhance the various patrol functions within the Department.
  • Air Support conducts aerial surveillance, search and rescue operations, traffic monitoring and reporting, as well as communicates with detail commanders for largescale First Amendment assemblies and utilizes forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras to guide canine units to subjects on nighttime or wooded area searches.
  • The Canine Patrol Unit’s missions include tracking and apprehending suspects, firearms and explosive ordnance detection in addition to providing assistance to other units within SOD during special events or critical incidents.
  • The Harbor Patrol Unit monitors the rivers, inlets, and waterways of the District of Columbia, ensuring everyone is safely enjoying the diverse activities available on the water. Harbor members are all Underwater Search and Recovery Team (USRT) divers who respond for a variety of emergencies, including overturned boats, vehicles/individuals in the water, foot pursuits where the subjects have fled near the water, and suicidal subjects on the various bridges over DC waterways.
  • All three units within the Tactical Patrol Branch participate extensively in a variety of community programs by displaying different equipment, conducting canine demonstrations, participating at school functions, or teaching courses for boating safety.

Special Events Branch

  • Plans, coordinates and develops operational orders; allocates manpower; conducts liaison with outside agencies for special events, ceremonial parades, First Amendment demonstrations and other incidents occurring in public or of a public nature.
  • Plans, coordinates and allocates manpower for all large scale sporting events within the District of Columbia.
  • Coordinates with appropriate agencies in planning, developing, and executing escort and security support for distinguished guests of the Federal and municipal governments and other governmental functions.
  • Screens requests for permits and personnel in connection with public and private functions and makes recommendations to the Chief of Police.
  • Coordinates with Secret Service in planning, developing, and executing escort and security for the President and Vice President of the United States and other protectees.
  • Provides supplemental assistance to the Traffic Enforcement Branch in the Enforcement of traffic regulations.
  • Aids with various patrol functions as necessary to relieve pressure on patrol operations and to ensure there are adequate resources available for calls for service.
  • Conducts approved funeral escorts within the District of Columbia
  • Maintains a Critical Incident Response Team with specialized equipment.
  • Conducts agency wide police motorcycle training in cooperation with regional partners.

Special Operations Division
2850 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC