Special Emergency Response Team

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The Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was the RCMP counter-terrorism unit which existed until 1993. Its duties were then taken by the Canadian Forces in the form of Joint Task Force Two(JTF-2).

SERT was formed in the 1980s, but its history can be traced back to the Emergency Response Team (ERT) that took shape in 1976 as a hostage and rescue patrol unit (HARP). The primary reason for the creation of the SERT team was that at the time neither the regional police SWAT teams, nor the ERT teams were properly equipped for counter terrorism activities. Members were drawn from the country's various ERTs and recruits were subjected to a physically and mentally grueling selection process.

SERT was disbanded, reportedly, due to conflicts between the RCMP and certain agencies within the Canadian government about the lethal mandate of the team, and the RCMP's directive to save and protect life. During the transition between SERT and JTF2, RCMP operators from SERT were used as subject matter experts and as members of the training staff. Training and handover of operations took place at Dwyer Hill. The RCMP still maintains a national network of special operations units called the Emergency Response Team, usually aligned with the Force's geographic divisions. (i.e., "F Division covers Saskatchewan; "D" Division covers Manitoba.)

JTF-2 now uses SERT's former training base near Ottawa at Dwyer Hill.

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