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In an effort to assist departments with high risk incidents, a regional emergency response team was formed in 1997. The Estherville Police Department, in cooperation with other departments, formed what later would be called the H.E.A.T. team. H.E.A.T. stands for High risk Entry and Arrest Team, and it exemplifies the very nature of the organization.

The team is available to all law enforcement agencies needing to resolve high risk situations for which regular officers may not be equipped. Some of these situations are, armed subjects barricaded inside a structure, execution of search warrants where there is the threat of firearms, and entry into structures where there may be large quantities of drugs or hazardous chemicals.

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The team consists of four hostage negotiators, two snipers, an administrative liaison, a dispatcher, two specialists in less than lethal munitions, entry specialists and team leaders. All members on the team are expected to complete a basic training course offered by S.O.T.A. (an organization that specializes in training SWAT officers).The officers must maintain a high level of physical agility. Training is a high priority, and the team meets once a month for at least eight hours to train as a group. Every H.E.A.T. team member is expected to qualify with his or her particular weapon at least four times per year. h.e.a.t. busSome of the situations for which the team trains include, active school shooters, hostage negotiations, school bus ground assaults, riot control, and school searches.

A department may join the H.E.A.T. team by completing an application and then, upon approval, making a monetary contribution based on the population of the jurisdiction and the number of officers the department commits to the team. Presently nineteen departments are members.

Team members thank all the individuals and organizations whose support helps to make them one of the best trained teams in the area.