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Tactical Operations

Tactical Operations includes the Explosive Ordinance Unit (Bomb Squad), Special Response Team (SRT), Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), and Crisis Negotiations Team. These units provide a ready response to situations that are beyond the capabilities of normally equipped and trained Department personnel. Training and sustainment of essential skills is a main priority for the Tactical Operations units. Team members continuously attend training events and  classes nationwide. For more information on a specific unit and pictures, click on the links below.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit (Bomb Squad)

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit's primary mission is to ensure residents' safety in the event of an explosive-related incident. They are responsible for handling, transporting, and rendering safe all explosive items within Cambridge. The Unit consists of five full-time bomb technicians and an explosive sniffing K-9.  Additionally, four part-time bomb technicians work in other units and divisions within the department.   Bomb technicians work the day shift and first half shifts and are on call during overnight hours.  The department’s Bomb Technicians serve as a regional asset and are frequently called to assist other area communities when the need arises. 

All bomb technicians are certified by the F.B.I. at a rigorous six-week training school in Huntsville, AL.  Once certified each technician must complete twenty-four hours of training each month to maintain their certification. 

The E.O.D. unit has received specialized training in the following areas:

  • Hazardous Material (HAZ-MAT) detection.
  • Large Vehicle Bombings.
  • Advanced Demolition.
  • Homemade explosives labs, electronics, and breacher technology.

The E.O.D. is frequently called upon to conduct bomb or HAZ-MAT sweeps before many public events such as festivals, commencements, and dignitary visits.  

The E.O.D. unit has been a vital component in the violence prevention initiatives that have been enacted. Often the on-duty Bomb Tech will conduct extra patrols in the areas that have been affected by violence.  Also, if there is a shooting, the bomb techs who have a K-9 are utilized to sniff out ballistic evidence.

Lastly, the bomb techs and their K-9’s are crucial pieces for the department’s community policing initiatives.  The Labrador Retrievers are loved by members of the community and visitors’ children. 

Special Response Team  (SRT)

The Cambridge Police Special Response team is a well trained, disciplined, tactical team that is able and prepared to respond to any major crisis within the city. Their primary mission is to resolve high-risk incidents, with a minimal loss of human life.

The Special Response team is composed of approximately 20 officers. Each officer has been carefully selected and must undergo vigorous physical training. For initial training, selected officers attend SWAT 1 and SWAT 2, which are for one week each. Also, continuous monthly training is conducted to maintain their elite skills. These officers come from various units within the Department and are on call 24-hours a day.

The following is a partial list of instances when the Special Response team would be used: 

  • Active shooter incidents
  • Armed or barricaded suspects
  • Hostage situations
  • Presidential or Vice President visits the city
  • Boston Marathon Security
  • Security for foreign heads of state
  • High-risk arrest warrant service
  • High-risk search warrant service
  • Large venue public events and festivals
  • Mass casualty events
  • Building searches
  • Dignitary protection
  • Terrorist activity or events
  • Protection of radiological sources being delivered and/ or removal from 13 radiological locations in the city and the nuclear reactor.  The federal oversight regulatory organizations require that a highly trained security team accompany these nuclear sources when being delivered or removed.  The Cambridge Police SRT Team works in conjunction with the State Police Tactical Operations Units and the federal authorities to ensure the security of this material.      

In addition to their tactical responsibilities, the Special Response Team provides proactive safety programs to houses of worship, hospitals, daycares, and residential and commercial properties. The Civilian Response to Active Shooter/ Critical Incident Program is a customized active shooter walkthrough of the property emphasizing the key elements of the “Run Hide Fight” Active Shooter Federal Program.  The Senior Search and Rescue Program uses data collected to mainly searching for people who suffer from Dementia.  It should be noted that in conjunction with the Cambridge Fire Department, the SRT Team has tactical paramedics assigned to the unit to assist with any critical incident.

If the City and Department did not have a team such as SRT, CPD would have to rely on outside mutual aid from neighboring departments. 

Tactical Patrol Force (TPF)

The Cambridge Police Tactical Patrol Force is composed of approximately 50 officers. Their primary mission is to respond safely to incidents of civil disobediences, which includes but not limited to riots, protests, and any other situation where citizen unrest may result. Officers of the Tactical Patrol Force are trained in special tactics to control and calm large crowds. In addition, the TPF has been activated for force protection to provide perimeter security during special events, including visits by the President, Vice President, or foreign Heads of State.  

Crisis Negotiations Team

The Cambridge Police Department's Crisis Negotiations Unit consists of specially trained officers who are prepared to deal with people who are typically in crisis and have taken someone hostage or have barricaded themselves within a building or similar setting.  This can be a preplanned event where the hostage is used as leverage to get something such as money or, as more commonly seen, a situation occurs that puts a person into crisis causing them to take specific actions unplanned and spontaneous.  

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