The Moose Jaw Police Service is looking to add new police members to its Tactical Response Team (TRT) over the next few weeks.

The TRT currently consists of six members, as well as two team leaders.

"This is a very important team to have in Moose Jaw," said TRT team member Constable Reggie Pawliw. "We have so many different units that are part of Moose Jaw. We have crisis negotiators, we have our drone pilots, we have patrol members, canine unit, etc. This is just another piece to that puzzle. Obviously with some of these serious calls that do happen in Moose Jaw, it's one of those things where we just needed people who are more trained to basically help out with the community to make sure that we're all safe."

Current members of the TRT include Const. Brandon Braun, Const. Joshua MacNaughton, Const. Melanie Durrant, Staff Sergeant Chad Scheske, Const. Jacques Geyer, and Const. Reggie Pawliw. The two team leaders are Const. Rod Zoerb and Staff Sergeant Taylor Elder. Planning started back in 2020 with Const. Zoerb and S/Sgt Elder, who received training with the Regina Police Service SWAT members. Once the pair completed that intense 3-week training course, they came back to Moose Jaw and made their own 2-week course for local members.

"We really appreciate the Regina Police Service, their SWAT members," commented Pawliw. "They're the ones that have the most expertise in this and they've basically trained us lots throughout the year-long process we've been part of their team. I just wanted to put a big thank you out to them for letting us use their facilities, their training ground. To have their instructors with us and to teach us every step of the way. Without them, none of this would have been possible."

He notes the upcoming tryout will include a physical test, in addition to a scenario-based test and an interview.

"They go over firearms, tactical drills, high-stress situations. How to deal with a team properly. How to go into certain rooms effectively and efficiently, and just basically all around how to be safe when you're entering these environments."

Those who are selected will move on to the two-week basic training course.

Pawliw said since the team's inception just over a year ago, they've responded to roughly 6 to 8 calls ranging in severity.

While the team is currently without an armoured vehicle, Pawliw is hoping to see that rectified in the near future.

"Armoured vehicles are not cheap but we're looking at getting a larger vehicle with potentially having some armour attached to it. That way it's going to provide us with protection that we need with some of these serious calls that we've been part of. Last year there was a couple of instances where firearms were discharged. I think it's important to have some type of armoured vehicle in the near future here for Moose Jaw, not just for police officers but for the citizens and the public here."

Moose Jaw's Tactical Response Team was one of the topics talked about during last week's Citizens' Police Academy session.