Tactical Response Unit


In the late 1970's, the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office recognized the need for a specially trained tactical unit to address the rise in violent crime and increased sophistication and weaponry of criminal offenders. Although Lancaster County Sheriff's Office patrol personnel are highly and continuously trained, the need for specialized equipment and tactics to resolve dangerous situations was sometimes required. The Sheriff's Office formed the Tactical Response Unit (TRU) after evaluating the needs of its personnel and the community. The team was originally comprised of seven members who primarily relied upon surplus military equipment and supplies.


The mission of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office TRU is to protect the lives of citizens and members of law enforcement, particularly during high-risk incidents involving hostages, barricaded subjects, snipers, civil disorder and the service of arrest and search warrants. The Unit's goal is to successfully resolve these types of incidents in such a fashion as to minimize the risk of harm to our citizens, law enforcement personnel and TRU members.

Team Structure

The TRU is comprised of four basic elements: command, entry team, snipers, and negotiator. The team consists of eight members highly trained in areas such as:

  • Automatic and semi-automatic weapons
  • Barricaded subjects
  • Chemical weapons
  • Crisis/hostage negotiations
  • Hand-to-hand tactics
  • High-risk warrant service
  • Land navigation
  • Man-tracking
  • Rappelling
  • Specialty impact munitions

The average length of law enforcement experience for TRU members is over 11 years.


High standards are maintained for the selection of TRU members. Sheriff's Office personnel interested in becoming members of the TRU must have a minimum of two years law enforcement experience. Candidates must pass a rigorous physical qualifications test, written test, psychological evaluation and firearms proficiency test. Only those candidates possessing qualities such as maturity, decision-making ability and high initiative, who work well in a team environment, will be considered for selection.


Upon selection to the TRU, new members attend a two-week basic tactical school. Upon successful completion of the basic training, members are sent to additional specialized training depending on their specific assignments within the team. The TRU trains each month to sharpen their skills and maintain optimum proficiency in tactical operations. The Lancaster County TRU also participates in periodic joint training exercises with the FBI, Nebraska State Patrol, Lincoln Police Department, and other area law enforcement agencies.