LETTER: Crisis response editorial off base

York Dispatch

On behalf of York County’s Quick Response Team (QRT), and the District Attorney's Office, we were disappointed with your editorial "Respond calmly to York neighbors in crisis."

Lt. Tobin Tech of QRT and York Area Regional Police hands out honorary badges to kids following a six-hour standoff in their neighborhood.

Your editorial demonstrated a lack of knowledge or understanding concerning QRT’s response to crisis situations involving armed individuals.

The QRT is a team of specialized, highly-trainedlaw enforcement officers who resolve incidents of a critical nature. These occur when standard police methods may not successfully de-escalate a dangerous situation.

For the QRT to be deployed, the police chief of the jurisdiction where the incident is occurring contacts the QRT commander. The QRT Commander determines whether the incident qualifies under QRT policy, which all law enforcement adopted and ratified.

The QRT does not merely present a show of force. Additionally, highly trained and skilled negotiators build rapport with people in crisis to avoid negative outcomes.

QRT negotiators with special training in mental health serve this community on Crisis Intervention Teams. Officers with this specialized training obtain peaceful ends to what otherwise could be harmful or deadly situations.

This was the case July 13. The incident commander and team commander determined that the QRT could facilitate a positive outcome. Following QRT procedures, the negotiators used their extensive training and resolved the matter peacefully. One has to ask what may have occurred had the team left the scene as your editorial recommends and a troubled individual with a deadly weapon made other, more dangerous choices.

This incident, like so many before it, ended peacefully because of dedicated officers who would sacrifice their lives to protect the members of this community.

We greatly thank our QRT, as we do all law enforcement, for their dedication, professionalism and performance in highly stressful situations.

Tom Kearney, York County district attorney

Dan Stump, QRT commander