The Special Operations Division (S.O.D.) was created in July 1987 to better manage the addition of specialized units and positions within the department. Prior to the creation of the S.O.D., all sworn officers, including all of the patrol officers and specialized units such as the Criminal Investigations Unit, were under the Operations Division. When the S.O.D. was created and the specialized units moved to that division, the Operations Division was renamed the Patrol Division. See a description of each unit/operation below.
The Canine Unit was established in 1987. Each team consists of a canine handler and a dog.
The canine teams undergo a lot of training, both departmentally, as well as attendance at the United States Police Canine Association canine certification trials.
The Crime Prevention Unit conducts residential and commercials security surveys, provides training in neighborhood watch (also known as crime watch), training to communities and neighborhoods, and conducts both general and specialized crime prevention presentations to homeowners' associations, citizen and community groups, schools, and businesses upon request.
The officer assigned to this unit also prepares the department's weekly activity report, which is available to residents. In addition to being posted on the website, it is also printed in the News Review and is emailed to the media and interested citizens.
This officer also teaches the D.A.R.E. program at the Springhill Lake Elementary School.
This unit consists of five full time investigators, including a sergeant and a corporal. The detectives investigate all major crimes that happen in the city. These detectives also assist and co-ordinate with other agencies.
Crisis Negotiation Unit
The Crisis Negotiations Unit (CNU) was established in 1998 and works in conjunction with the ERU during barricade situations. The members of both units serve on a voluntary basis after passing a rigorous selection process. Both units train on a regular basis and the members of the ERU must also maintain a certain level of physical fitness and firearms proficiency.
Emergency Response Team
The Emergency Response Unit (ERU) was established in 1990 and consisted of officers trained to execute high risk warrants. The unit was called the Tactical Unit at the time, but the name was changed several years ago to the Emergency Response Unit to reflect the additional types of operations the unit will respond to as its size and its capabilities increase.
In addition to the sworn Greenbelt Police Officers who comprise the unit, two civilian tactical medics trained in advanced life support volunteer their time and services to the unit. They train with ERU and at least one of them, sometimes both, accompanies the unit on almost every operation.
The ERU has successfully completed more than 150 operations. Some of the more notable ones include assisting with security at the Pentagon after the September 11 terrorist attack. The ERU also assisted the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety with the security details for Nelson Mandella, November 2001, and Kofi Annan, November 2002, as well as civil disturbances following sporting events, including the NCAA basketball championship game in April 2002.
Although all officers receive basic training in dusting for fingerprints, sometimes an object or a crime scene requires more sophisticated processing. The station houses an evidence and digital photo lab and two full time evidence technicians and a handful of part time evidence technicians.
The evidence technicians handle latent fingerprint examinations, digital imaging, and the collection of evidence from major crime scenes.
Narcotics Task Force
The department has a detective assigned full-time to a Maryland State Police Drug Task Force. The Narcotics Task Force was created in 1991 and investigates drug violations in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Having a detective assigned to a task force allows for more effective use of investigative resources.
The task force is supervised by a state police sergeant and, in addition to the Greenbelt detective, includes investigators from the state police and the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety.
School Resource Officers
As part of the community oriented policing program, two officers are stationed at Eleanor Roosevelt High School and provide service to the other schools in the city as well. These officers handle problems at the schools and in the surrounding neighborhoods. Most importantly, they interact with the student in a positive way.
They act as role models and give many teens their only chance to interact with a police officer in a positive manner. In addition to their positions at ERHS, one of the SROs teaches the D.A.R.E. program at the Greenbelt Elementary School, and teaches the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program at the Greenbelt Middle school.