by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

 TRAINING EXERCISES are part of the police assisting units of Shiawassee County. Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Posse as well as Shiawassee County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) are often called upon to help out in search and rescue operations. To prepare the teams for authentic cases, the groups often meet for training purposes on how to track or find items or individuals as well as CPR and resuscitation efforts which could be a part of a real police investigation situation.

     A command center is also set up, as shown, to aid the volunteers in their efforts with direct communication via walkie-talkies as well as pinpointing items found in an investigation. More photos are inside today’s edition of the Independent and show the groups in a training exercise preparing for real investigations. (Independent Photo/Elizabeth Wehman)


Rarely do things happen with just luck or sheer determination, which is why the Shiawassee County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) as well as the Shiawassee County Search and Posse group meet on a regular basis to train for those times when they are needed by area police departments to gather clues, investigate situations, or find missing individuals. The two groups are made up of volunteers who come out in all kinds of weather and situations to give assistance. They also support themselves with absolutely no funding from governmental sources.

Both groups met for a training session on Saturday, Oct. 29 at a home in Bancroft to go through their drills, to practice CPR and defibrillation efforts, as well as the processes of a real life investigation. A command center was set up at the home of Barry Marks, a CERT member, to guide and direct the search teams. A scenario was contrived and all possible clues were set around the property before the exercise started to ensure as authentic-as-possible police scene or situation.

Standing in lines, arm length apart, members began searching the property in pursuit of a thief who had just recently stolen jewelry and belongings from a local jeweler’s safe from his home. The fictitious thief had been apprehended earlier in the day by police, but clues were needed to be found including a weapon, a bag of coins, as well as possible jewelry that had been claimed to be stolen. The seasonal falling tree leaves, as well as tall grasses made the process of finding the clues that much harder, but the group was successful in finding many of the items which had been hidden as part of the training.

Using walking sticks, as well as keeping their vision focused on the ground they carefully walked over the marked out perimeter of the crime scene. “I made the scenario as realistic as I could,” commented Marks. “As a young child, around the age of six, I went trick or treating during Halloween and soon found out that I had worn a major hole in my Halloween treat bag. The evening was ruined when I realized all my candy was now scattered over my path I took that night. I decided to make this scenario much like that night as I had a thief running from police with his bag of stolen goods leaking as he ran down paths to a grove of clustered trees on the property,” he added. The police, in the scenario, captured the thief soon after his run, but his clues would lead the police in their investigation as well as proof that the suspect had indeed robbed the jeweler’s home safe.

During the training process, a fictitious heart attack was experienced by one of the Posse group members. Members of both groups teamed up to administer not only CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation, but also used a defibrillator to revive the fallen member. The group circled the fallen member and performed a round of reviving efforts before the ambulance arrived to transport the victim to the hospital. All kinds of scenarios like this help to equip the teams with necessary skills in cases when resuscitation efforts are needed in real life rescue scenarios.

The teams have conducted many authentic search and rescue efforts in Shiawassee County in the past. Many times they are able to aid area law enforcement officers in apprehending and arresting individuals on the run.

Preparing for Emergency was last modified: November 7th, 2016 by Karen Elford