The Traverse City Police Department is part of the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Task Force (N.M.M.A.T.F.) Emergency Response Team (ERT). This is a multi-jurisdictional ERT composed of several law enforcement agencies throughout Northern Michigan. Situations where ERT may be utilized are hostage situations, barricaded subjects, civil disturbances, high-risk arrests and search warrants, or other high-risk situations that the normal patrol division couldn’t handle safely.
N.M.M.A.T.F. consists of three teams, divided geographically, which allows for the effective coverage of Northern Michigan. Members of the Traverse City Police Department are assigned to “Team 2” along with members from Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department, Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department, Benzie County Sheriff’s Department, and Antrim County Sheriff’s Department. Team 2 is responsible for any situation in those areas requiring an ERT response. The team dynamics consist of Entry and perimeter teams, snipers, and negotiators. Negotiators are a vital role in our operations and have helped deescalate many high-risk scenarios avoiding force, injury, or death.
The Traverse City Police Department has six members assigned to the team, three of them as negotiators. They are Sgt. Taylor, Ofcr. Witczak, Ofcr. Shea, School Resource Ofcr. Oster (negotiator), Downtown Ofcr. John Culver (negotiator) and Ofcr. Nowland (negotiator).
To be selected as an ERT member with our department, officers must pass an oral board interview, marksmanship, and physical fitness test. Upon being selected, officers must successfully complete a 40 hour basic SWAT training class before they are assigned to the team. Once a member, they train 16 hours a month as a team and must qualify twice a year in marksmanship and physical fitness.
To be selected as a negotiator, candidates must pass an oral board interview. Once selected, officers must successfully complete a 40-hour basic negotiator training class in order to be placed on the team. Negotiators train with the ERT monthly and must complete 24 hours of training annually to maintain their certification.