Correctional Emergency Response Team

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File:Prison Tactical Team.jpg
Prison Tactical Team (riot control)

A Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT), Special Emergency Response Team for Correction (SERT), or Special Operation Response Team (SORT) is a team of highly trained Corrections Officers or Deputy Sheriffs in the United States tasked with responding to incidents, riots, cell extractions, mass searches, or disturbances in prisons or jails possibly involving uncooperative or violent inmates. CERT team members are required to be contactable and available to respond at all times. CERT is founded upon a team concept and is made up of highly motivated and experienced officers.


Possible duties of a CERT team include transport of high risk inmates, extracting uncooperative prisoners from their cells, daily full cell searches and high profile security, barricaded persons, riots, mass arrest, high risk/high profile transport and hostages situations, as well as crowd control. In the United States CERT organization and training requirements differ from state to state. A standard cell extraction team may consists of the following:

  1. CERT Team Leader "Leads". Is the only person who may give verbal commands to both the inmate and his team. Spoken communication skills, anger de-escalation techniques.
  2. The Equipment/Video Member "EQV" To capture the entire response on video.
  3. CERT Officer "1" Lead member, first in to deal with the inmate. Usually a shield man.
  4. CERT Officer "2" Second team member in. Usually assigned to immobilize the right arm/hand
  5. CERT Officer "3" Third team member in. Usually assigned to immobilize the left arm/hand
  6. CERT Officer "4" Fourth team member in. Usually assigned to immobilize the legs
  7. CERT Officer "5" Fifth team member in. Usually assigned to smother the face and eyes. (Practiced in Capital Health Emergency Facility in Trenton, NJ)
  8. CERT Officer "6" Sixth team member in. Usually assigned to asphyxiate the neck slightly. (Practiced in Capital Health Emergency Facility in Trenton, NJ)

CERT Officers are outfitted with extensive gear, including body armor, helmet, tactical gloves, handcuffs, leg shackles, and riot shield. A CERT Officer may also be outfitted with a less-than-lethal shotgun, Taser, OC spray, or lethal weapons such as firearms. A CERT Officer may be outfitted with plain-clothed police uniforms and work as part of a Strong Man Team in Emergency Rooms (Capital Health Emergency Facility in Trenton, NJ).

Hong Kong CERT

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With a size of 200 part-time personnel, the special response unit of the Correctional Services Department was set under the organisation of the Escort and Support Group.

The Hong Kong CERT works a similar role and equipped like the US CERT, as they are responsible of handling riots and sudden incidents while the members are equipped with less-than-lethal weaponry such as pepper spray, pepper gun and long with rubber pellet rifle and firearms are used as the last resort.

See also