MARSHALL COUNTY - You rarely read a headline about a call-out, or hear the details of how their missions are conducted. Discreetly briefed and carefully dispatched, this tactically advanced team responds when high risk situations occur.
From working with the Drug Enforcement Agency, division of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Federal Bureau of Investigation, to serving alongside city and county law enforcement agencies around the region, Marshall County's Special Response Team (SRT) stands ready to respond.
Utilized to respond to incidences such as hostage situations, apprehension of armed and barricaded suspects, suicide intervention, high-risk warrant service, high-risk search and seizure, covert and undercover operations, riot control and fugitive tracking, few in the community ever know the dangers faced routinely by the members of the county’s elite tactical team.
In February, the team was dispatched to Calvert City where it was believed a murder suspect, accused of being the trigger man in a Clarksville nighclub shooting, was hiding out. SRT members partnered with Paducah's SWAT team along with other agencies where they affected an arrest and took the suspect into custody. While that particular call made headlines, most do not.
Marshall County Sergeant Detective and Pennyrile Narcotics Detective Kevin Mighell serves as Team Leader for the 11-man squad and says in addition to the call-outs, the team trains twice monthly, eight-hour days filled with physical agility, tactical and weapons exercises.
SRT members are trained in the use of specialized weaponry including high calliber rifles, night vision optics, flash bangs, entry tools, gas and body shields, among others.
“A lot of people really never know what we do,” Mighell says of the often covert operations they are called to carry out.
One such situation tasked officers with getting children, being held hostage by an armed suspect, moved to safety despite threats being made to them and to the officers during a domestic situation in the county.
The officers successfully evacuated the children out of harm's way then moved to address the barricaded subject.
“That never made the news,” Mighell said. “I guess you can relate a lot of what we do to black ops training," he said of the missions conducted.
"Our team members have to be prepared for these type of situations that don't occur on a daily basis. They have to be tactically prepared and rely on their training when the situations arise.”
Prior to this specialized training force being assembled in the county, in the past, officers were forced to rely on backup tactical members from other agencies around the region, which while helpful, presented its own set of challenges, include the time needed to assemble before deployment.
“When you don’t train together, you are not as familiar with your fellow officers,” Mighell said. “With our team now, we train together and know our positions. We know exactly how we will make entry and how we will coordinate our efforts during a response,” he said. “It gives you a lot more confidence as an officer.”
Mighell notes had the tactical team not been deployed during one particular call, one of his fellow officers might not be here today.
It was 10 years ago this year that Marshall County Sheriff’s Deputy and then Special Response Team member Ray Chumbler was shot while making entry into a mobile home in an effort to serve a high-risk warrant on 57 year-old Larry Mobley.
“He was ready for us,” Mighell said of the man who began firing his gun from a seated position in his recliner at the time entry was made into the home. “That could have been a lot worse if the team were not deployed on that call – we could have lost Ray and others that day had it not been for the team's level of training and preparedness.”
While that is admittedly one of the worst-case scenarios, Mighell is quick to point out that in today’s society, every call is a dangerous one.