CRISIS/HOSTAGE NEGOTIATIONS TEAM
The Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Team (C/HNT) is comprised of one sergeant and five officers. The C/HNT pairs with the Tactical Operations Unit utilizing special equipment in conjunction with specialized training, to assist those individuals who are in a crisis or critical incident. The goal of the team is to facilitate a successful and peaceful resolution without injury to all involved.
EVIDENCE TECHNICIAN UNIT
The Evidence Technician Unit is comprised of seven police officers and they are responsible for maintaining crime scene integrity, properly collecting evidence, documenting incidents through proven methods, and establishing scientific facts surrounding crimes. Our Evidence Technicians have to attend an intense in-house training program involving latent finger print examination, photography, crime scene sketching, laser training, evidence recovery, and evidence document techniques and a lengthy on-the-job training with an experienced Evidence Technician before being released. This schooling is required on top of the initial crime scene investigation classes given during the basic police academy and initial hiring at the Pelham Police Department.
The Pelham Police Department takes great pride in its K-9 Unit because of the proficiency and ability of the animals working in partnership with their handlers. The K9 Unit is assigned to the Field Services Bureau. The Unit is comprised of two K-9 teams. Each team consists of a police officer and his/her canine partner. The canine sense of smell is over 400,000 times greater than that of a human being. For this reason, they are especially suited to the detection of narcotics. The canines are trained to locate heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, meth, ecstasy, marijuana, and hash oil. The dogs indicate the detection of any controlled substances at the location they are searching. The K-9 Unit has become a valuable asset to the Pelham Police Department and the citizens we serve.
TACTICAL OPERATIONS UNIT
The Tactical Operations Unit is a highly skilled and well-equipped tactical unit that responds to extremely hazardous situations where conventional police tactics and equipment may be inadequate. The Unit may be called upon for incidents involving hostages, armed suicidal subjects, clandestine drug labs, or barricaded/wanted subjects. The Unit also assists in serving warrants in high-risk situations for the arrest of dangerous felons.
Specialized training for all members and a broad range of tactical equipment enable the Unit to resolve situations using the least amount of force necessary. Some specialized equipment utilized by the Unit includes chemical agents, less lethal munitions, night vision, and a variety of firearms. All Unit members are Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations certified through IFSAC and ProBoard through a training course from the Alabama Fire College. Also, all Unit members have had multiple CBRNE courses and multiple entries into the Center for Domestic Preparedness, live agent, Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, and Radiological Training Facility (COBRATF). It is the only such program in the nation featuring civilian training exercises in a true toxic environment, using chemical agents and biological materials. This additional WMD/CBRNE training separates our Unit from others, especially in our surrounding area. By continuing to obtain this type training and developing this capability within our team, the Unit is able to function tactically in any environment.
Police officers assigned to the Unit do so as a secondary assignment. Their primary assignments are usually in the Patrol or Investigations Divisions. Unit members must maintain excellent physical condition, must attend mandatory team training, and must consistently perform well in their primary assignments in order to continue as part of this elite team.
TRAFFIC OPERATIONS UNIT
In 1987, the Pelham Police Department recognized the need for increased traffic enforcement efforts and for trained personnel to investigate serious injury and fatal traffic crashes. A three member full-time traffic unit was formed to address those needs. During the 1990s, unit staffing dropped to only two officers on a part-time, as needed basis. Two additional officers were added to the traffic unit in October 1995. Due to the tremendous growth in Pelham and the surrounding areas during the 1990s, traffic related calls for service skyrocketed and the need for another full-time traffic unit was realized. Two additional officers were added in October 1999 and the name was changed to the Traffic Operations Unit to reflect the multitude of duties the Unit is responsible for.
The Traffic Operations Unit has many duties and responsibilities which include: traffic law enforcement, traffic crash prevention and investigation, impaired driver enforcement, traffic control at civic functions, sporting events, funeral processions, parades, and visiting dignitaries, neighborhood traffic complaint investigations, and community functions such as speaking to driver education classes, promoting the use of seat belts and child restraints, and/or other traffic related topics. The Traffic Operations Unit is committed to creating a safer community by assisting citizens in solving traffic problems utilizing the “3 E’s” of traffic safety: Engineering, Education, and Enforcement. Traffic officers participate in traffic engineering studies, make traffic crash prevention recommendations, educate the public on traffic safety, and review or recommend changes in Alabama state law that affects traffic safety. Today, there are six (6) police officers and one sergeant assigned to the Traffic Operations Unit. The Pelham Police Department is one of the few agencies in the Birmingham area to have full-time traffic personnel dedicated to traffic safety.