The St. Matthews Police Department's Special Response Team (SRT) was formed in early 2007 when Chief of Police Norman Mayer felt that the department needed to upgrade it's ability to prevent and respond to incidents of mass violence that could occur in the city. While it should be noted that there have been no specific threats against targets in St. Matthews, there are several schools, three hospitals, the Mall St. Matthews and many churches located here. Facilities like these have, unfortunately, been the sights of violence in other cities.
The SRT was started from scratch with officers who volunteered and were evaluated on previous experience, physical fitness and their personnel records. Since then, the vast majority of the team members have completed Louisville Metro's Basic and Intermediate SWAT schools as well as other schools applicable to the Special Response Team's missions. In addition to the original responsibility for mass violence situations, the SRT is also now responsible for responding to situations involving barricaded person, hostage taking and serving dangerous search or arrest warrants. The SRT is equipped with special equipment such as rifles, ballistic shields, tactical armor and helmets, launchers that can fire tear gas and less lethal rounds and breaching tools for entering buildings.
The team is currently made up of one sergeant and eleven officers. There are six officers assigned to the entry team and five officers assigned to the containment team. Several officers on the team are current instructors in firearms, taser, defensive tactics and less lethal munitions. Some members of the team have prior SWAT experience with other agencies. The team trains together twice a month in addition to any other schools that individual officers may attend.
The Special Response Team has come a long way since first forming. The team keeps training, looking for constant improvement. Members of the team have already used their specialized equipment and training to handle several situations.