Check out Tampa's Homeland Security Special Response Team - WFLA News Channel 8

Check out Tampa's Homeland Security Special Response Team

Posted: Updated:
News Channel 8’s Jeff Patterson shooting one of the team’s weapons News Channel 8’s Jeff Patterson shooting one of the team’s weapons
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Department of Homeland Security in Tampa has a special response team. They are part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, or ICE.

Chances are, you've never heard of them.

The Special Response Team has been in Tampa for more than twenty years. They serve warrants on dangerous fugitives and are prepared to assist local law enforcement agencies in a variety of highly volatile situations, but even the ICE Special Agents are aware that the public doesn't know a lot about what they do.

Special Agent Kevin Power says, " Our agency has always been known for trying to follow the investigation for as long as possible and to follow it up the food chain, so most of the work we do is kind of in the shadows."

The Special Response Team puts in an additional twenty hours a month of specialized training in dangerous situations.

ICE agents normally handle cases involving child exploitation, human trafficking, and money laundering.

Deputy Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden says they handle cases that involve the movement of people or money.

Wednesday, the Special Response Team invited the media to see what they do, and how they train.

In one demonstration, agents enter a bunker like set up, designed to mimic entering a house or other building. The training facility is designed to allow for many different configurations. Special agents throw a device known and a " Flash Bang" into the room and then enter quickly with their weapons drawn to simulate the rapid takeover of a building. The weapons are armed with a special ammunition that expels paint pellets instead of lead bullets. The rounds will hurt if you are hit, but they do not kill.

Special Agent Will Abner says the training is very helpful. " They saying goes, you fight like you train, so to be able to come into a house like this and to be able to use simunitions or live fire, replicates what we are going to face in the real world so it's invaluable.", says Abner.

In another scenario, special agents use a large armored vehicle to demonstrate their capability to rescue a downed officer in an "active shooter" situation.

The armored vehicle and specialized gear help, but the agents are still exposed to danger. An undercover agent explains, "The body armor that we are wearing provides some cover and then the shield that you were carrying is an additional element. Think of it as sort of a cake I guess. It's layers of protection."

The extra layers of protection are kind of like having the team from the Department of Homeland Security there, you hope you don't need them, but are glad to have them around when you do.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:15:59 GMT
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
  • Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:01:38 GMT
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
  • Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 8:16 AM EDT2014-08-26 12:16:28 GMT
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Largo travel club head now caught up in Dr. Oz magic diet pill controversy

    Largo travel club head now caught up in Dr. Oz magic diet pill controversy

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:56 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:56:40 GMT
    File photo: Nicholas Congleton File photo: Nicholas Congleton
    It turns out the subject of an Eight On Your Side investigation of a local travel club has another claim to fame. He's at the heart of a "magic diet pill" promoted by Dr. Oz and vilified by the FTC.That means Nicholas Congleton is at the heart of two business schemes that are under investigating by state and federal consumer protection authorities for misleading or taking advantage of unwitting customers.
    It turns out the subject of an Eight On Your Side investigation of a local travel club has another claim to fame. He's at the heart of a "magic diet pill" promoted by Dr. Oz and vilified by the FTC.That means Nicholas Congleton is at the heart of two business schemes that are under investigating by state and federal consumer protection authorities for misleading or taking advantage of unwitting customers.
  • Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:37:32 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
  • Warning: Graphic video shows Sarasota man beating in-laws' dog

    Warning: Graphic video shows Sarasota man beating in-laws' dog

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:17 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:17:27 GMT
    Surveillance video shows Glover abusing dogSurveillance video shows Glover abusing dog
    A Sarasota County man has been arrested, accused of abusing and killing a miniature 12-pound Dachshund.
    A Sarasota County man has been arrested, accused of abusing and killing a miniature 12-pound Dachshund.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-08-27 20:37:32 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road closed Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker. Two lanes have re-opened as of 4:30 p.m.
  • 'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:42:52 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
  • 12 arrested in Clearwater prostitution crackdown

    12 arrested in Clearwater prostitution crackdown

    Monday, August 25 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-08-25 21:40:57 GMT
    The Clearwater Police Department targeted the East Gateway area in a crackdown on prostitution over the weekend.
    The Clearwater Police Department targeted the East Gateway area in a crackdown on prostitution over the weekend.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.