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The Summerville Police Department’s tactical team is commonly referred to as the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) and has progressed significantly since its inception in 1998.  Our ESU is a proven, important resource for the department and is a part-time assignment for its members.


  Recognizing that the presence of a highly trained, highly skilled, tactical unit substantially reduces the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, police officers and suspects. Also recognizing that an appropriately managed “team” response to critical incidents usually results in successful resolution of critical incidents; it is the intent of the ESU to enhance the safety of our community. We accomplish this goal by providing specialized response and immediate assistance by highly trained personnel during periods of civil unrest, emergencies and high risk events.


             Our ESU has an authorized strength of sixteen members; supervised by Lieutenant Thomas Peterson, designated the tactical commander.  Absent exigent circumstances, the team is deployed at the direction of the chief of police.           


Members of the ESU serve on a volunteer basis; must have a minimum of two years law enforcement experience, pass a physical fitness test and meet specific weapons proficiency criteria.  Upon attaining these qualifications and proficiencies, individuals are selected for team membership.


            The Summerville Police Department ESU has proven its utility as a tool for the agency and community.  This unit is constantly seeking new techniques, continuing advanced training and procuring equipment for its benefit and use. Our goal is to obtain new ideas and methods from training and working with as well as observing other law enforcement agencies.  The ESU works closely with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) in addition to Charleston City, Charleston County and other lowcountry law enforcement agencies' S.W.A.T. Teams.

ESU Photos










Lt. Thomas Peterson

 Unit Commander














Tactical Emergency Medical Support Unit  (T.E.M.S.)









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