Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. conducted a three-day selection course for its Special Response Team (SRT) March 21-23 at the Harper-Presgrave Regional Law Enforcement Complex in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Nine hopeful officers from ERO’s Washington, D.C. offices gathered for three days of extreme physical training, including pushups, sprints, burpees, pullups, obstacles, weighted sprints and dummy drags followed by intense marksmanship training. Any officer hoping to join the ranks of ERO Washington’s elite SRT must successfully navigate the entire course.
The nine officers had successfully completed the ERO SRT pre-assessment phase. Ten of their fellow officers did not complete the pre-assessment phase or make it to the ERO Washington, D.C. selection phase.
“These officers are attempting to join the elite group of officers whose job demands them to push harder, run farther, or go longer when their bodies or minds tell them they can’t,” said ERO Washington, D.C. Assistant Field Office Director Erik Weiss. “It is our job to ensure they are physically, mentally and emotionally equipped to handle anything that this job will entail.”
Those who successfully complete the three-day selection course are assigned to SRT on a probationary basis before going through the national SRT selection course at Fort Benning, Georgia. Those who complete the national SRT selection will become members of ERO Washington, D.C.’s SRT.
“It is important for us to conduct this selection course because the strength of the team is each individual member, and the strength of each member is the team,” said ERO Washington, D.C. Field Office Director Russell Hott. “The course here in Harrisonburg will identify which of our officers will have the greatest chance for success at the national selection course in Fort Benning.”
The Harrisonburg course consisted of obstacle courses and extreme physical training designed to physically exhaust the candidates, followed by intense marksmanship training with the pistols and rifles that SRT members use as tools of their trade. Candidates are required to complete each phase of the training with higher than a “passing” score, as many candidates don’t perform as well in the unfamiliar complex at Fort Benning as they do at the home-based compound in Virginia.
“We make them score 15 points higher than the minimum on the marksmanship courses to avoid the ‘Benning 15,’” said ERO Washington, D.C. Deputy Field Office Director Patrick Divver. “Many candidates get to the Fort Benning course and find that their rifle scores are about 15 points lower than they were at their home course.”
After the three-day course in Virginia, four of the nine ERO officers successfully completed the SRT tryouts. Two will be assigned to the SRT’s Green Team to conduct SRT related training until they attend the official course at Fort Benning. The remaining officers will return to their duties with ERO Washington, D.C.
The ERO Washington, D.C. field office covers the District of Columbia and the state of Virginia.
As one of ICE’s three operational directorates, ERO is the principal federal law enforcement authority in charge of domestic immigration enforcement. ERO’s mission is to protect the homeland through the arrest and removal of those who undermine the safety of U.S. communities and the integrity of U.S. immigration laws, and its primary areas of focus are interior enforcement operations, management of the agency’s detained and non-detained populations, and repatriation of noncitizens who have received final orders of removal. ERO’s workforce consists of more than 7,700 law enforcement and non-law enforcement support personnel across 25 domestic field offices and 208 locations nationwide, 30 overseas postings, and multiple temporary duty travel assignments along the border.