Special Operations

Special Response Team


The Pennington County Special Response Team is a law enforcement team that is used in life threatening critical events that are beyond the capabilities of normal patrol resources. These events include High Risk Search Warrants, Hostage Negotiations, and Active Shooters. To resolve these types of incidents, the SRT uses professional and standardized training to deploy special weapons and tactics.

The team is made up of law enforcement officers from the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and four Paramedics from the Rapid City Fire Department. The Paramedics from the Rapid City Fire Department are trained in Tactical Emergency Medical Support. This is specialized medical training to provide immediate lifesaving skills in scenes too dangerous for ambulance operations.

For more info on the RC/PC Special response team, visit the Rapid City Police Department or the Pennington County Sheriff's Office


Heavy Rescue

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Heavy Rescue is located at Station 7.  Heavy Rescue specializes in structural collapse rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, high angle rescue and vehicle extrication.  A high level of training and hours goes into obtaining and maintaining these certifications.  Station 7 is also the home to “Cisco”, the canine search dog.  He is a Belgian Melinois and is certified to find live victims in wilderness search and building collapse.  He is currently the only canine in South Dakota certified in building collapse search.


Select members of the heavy rescue station- including Cisco- are members of South Dakota Task Force 1.  Station 7 provides the search and rescue component for task force. The task force is made up of members from Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Watertown.  



Water Rescue Team


The Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team (WRT) has been a combined effort of the Rapid City Fire Department, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rapid City Police Department, since 1987. The team provides services to Rapid City, Pennington County and the surrounding region.

The WRT can respond to a variety of calls, including:

  • Dive rescue and recovery
  • Surface rescue and recovery
  • Swift water rescue and recovery
  • Ice rescue and recovery
  • Evidence recovery and underwater crime scene investigation

As the largest water rescue team in the region, the WRT is classified as a Type III response team and is currently undergoing training to enhance their capabilities to a Type II response team.

The team can be called to a myriad of water related calls and the members perform their duties in trying and hazardous conditions that include black water diving, ice diving, night time operations, and exposure to extreme temperatures. The team is available 24 hours a day.

With the area’s growing population and increased interest in water sports, as well as a continuing threat of flooding from Rapid Creek and the surrounding area, the WRT is an essential part of the public safety efforts provided by the cooperating agencies. Over the past several years, the WRT has responded to dozens of water related calls for service including drowning rescue and recovery, evidence recovery, and swift water rescues and recovery.

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More in this category: « Medical Operations

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