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The Emergency Response Team (ERT) (French: Groupe tactique d'intervention) is the paramilitary tactical police arm of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


Purpose and history of the ERT

The ERT assumed the tactical role held by the disbanded Special Emergency Response Team in 1993 to provide tactical response within Canada. The ERT is called in to deal with situations that are beyond the abilities of regular police personnel. Situations they are called in to deal with include:

  • Serious Crime arrest warrants
  • Hostage rescue
  • Armed barricaded subjects
  • Protective duties

The ERT dates back to 1976; prior to this, a Hostage and Rescue Patrol (HARP) team was called in to deal with like situations, though its duties mainly ended at the containment of the incident.

In order to apply to be an ERT member, the potential candidate must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a minimum of two (2) years of operational policing experience;
  2. Attained a minimum score of 225 in his / her most recent PPC qualification;
  3. Must be in good physical condition.

Prior to attending the ERT course, the applicant must undergo a standardized selection process with the ERT in his / her area which includes shooting and physical testing. The candidate will receive familiarization training on the MP5 and M16 firearms, in addition to additional pistol training. The current minimum physical standard is the following:

   * 1.5 mile run in under 11 minutes;
   * 40 consecutive and uninterrupted pushups;
   * 40 sit-ups in one minute;
   * 5 wide-grip lat pull-ups;
   * Bench press 135 lbs.

This physical standard will soon be replaced with a timed obstacle course effective April 1st, 2009.

A psychological evaluation must also be completed before a member can attend the ERT course. Some of the requirements in this regard include not having phobias of water, heights or confined spaces.


Roles in the ERT

The roles of the ERT members are:



Assaulters are the general members of the team. They must be trained to use handguns, submachine guns, and rifles. They also learn

  • Close-quarter shooting
  • Use of specialized breaching tools
  • Diversion devices
  • Explosive entry tactics
  • Aircraft and tubular assault
  • High-risk vehicle assault, dynamic and stealth
  • Building assault
  • High-risk operational planning: immediate action, stronghold, open-air, ambush
  • Bush training
  • Camouflage
  • Stealth movement
  • Dynamic entry
  • Chemical weapons
  • Communications


One of the more specialized roles, a sniper/observer is especially skilled in field craft and marksmanship who will keep watch over the situation and neutralize a selected suspect with a single aimed rifle shot. In addition to assault skills, they learn:

  • Weapon safety
  • Ballistics: weight, velocity, energy, trajectory
  • Marksmanship: positioning, holding, pointing, aligning
  • Position: prone, sitting, kneeling, standing,
  • Weather / light conditions: sub-zero, snow, rain, wind, fog, cloud, heat, dawn, day, dusk, darkness
  • Cover and concealment, movement without detection
  • Target indication: arc and field of fire
  • Distance judgment
  • Image intensifiers
  • Map and compass
  • Communications

Helicopter Rappel Master

The ERT Rappel Master acts as the communication link between the flight crew and operational units aboard the aircraft and on the ground. The rappel master is responsible for the safe, swift, and efficient deployment of the assault group using signals to direct movement. In addition to Assaulter Training, they learn:

  • Ropecraft
  • Rappel anchor system
  • Fastrope
  • Telecommunications
  • Equipment assembly and installation
  • Tactical deployment methods

ERT Joint Operations

Depending on the circumstances, ERTs work as a separate unit or in cooperation with other RCMP special operations units including Tactical Troops, Proceeds of Crime, Drug Enforcement, Police Dog Service Teams, and Protective Services. ERTs also assist Government of Canada departments, such as Canada Border Services Agency, and join forces and share resources with other Canadian law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime.

Other Agencies' ERT

Several other law enforcement agencies employ tactical teams known as an ERT. Examples are the Ontario Provincial Police, the Correctional Service of Canada, the Vancouver Police Department, among others. The Greater Vancouver area in British Columbia, Canada, employs a Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team. Both Nishnawbe Aski Police Service and Treaty Three Police Service are developing their own Emergency Response Teams.

See also

External links


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