Tag Archives: SERT

Three Days Of Hell In Quensland Police Special Emergency Response Team Boot Camp

Sometimes the officers of the Special Emergency Response Team understood the urgent ramblings of Lee Matthew Hillier, and sometimes they didn’t. The tattooed gunman made one thing clear, though — a single demand — and the heavily kitted officers were doing everything they could not to give it to him.

It was March 8, 2013, and for more than an hour, Brisbane’s bustling Queen Street Mall had been closed while a drug-addled gunman paced up and down, shouting at police.

Snipers were in position. Office workers stood at the police tape with their mobile phone-holding hands outstretched, hoping for a shot of the action. Shoppers peered through store windows. The situation was dire. If shots were fired, either by police or by Hillier, there was a risk of “blue on blue” or “blue on civilian” casualties.

Guns were trained on Hillier as he moved around. Then he pointed his weapon at his head, and shouted his demand: he wanted police to shoot him.

After 90 minutes of failed negotiations, SERT officers made a call. They would use nonlethal ammunition to take him down. Hillier jerked and flailed as a volley of shots hit him in the back. But as he was heavily affected by drugs, the rounds failed to have full effect. Hillier raised his gun at SERT officers and lunged forward. They shot again, this time with live rounds. He was hit twice.

Hillier survived and is now in jail.

At SERT headquarters 15km From the city, 14 hopefuls take their seats in the conference room. It’s a Tuesday morning and they are clean and alert. In three days, those who survive will hobble back here, bloodied and bruised, their clothes ripped and feet taped.

The 1970s brick venue is crowded with rows of chairs. The 14 applicants take up the first two. Standing behind them are the men they hope to join, serving SERT operatives. Some are here to help instruct the course. Others are here out of curiosity. (SERT officers are trained in counterterrorism, carry out high-risk arrests and negotiate during sieges.)

Read the full story in the Courier Mail.

Source: www.couriermail.com.au