The Norman Police Department maintains a number of specialized teams and units with enhanced skills to best serve the Norman community. All Special Teams and Units serve a specialized role in our agency. Below is a listing of Special Teams and Units that you could see at community events, on a call for service, or in an emergency.
NPD Special Teams
The Norman Police Departments use of bicycles allows patrol officers a unique transportation option that provides many benefits to the officers and our community. Due to their mobility a bike officer can patrol a much more diverse area than a standard vehicle while offering speed and equipment options not available with foot patrols. Officers on bikes are often deployed to apartment complexes, parks, schools, and many areas where vehicles can not enter such as the river and lake trails, drainage systems, and Sutton Wilderness. In addition the bikes are perfectly suited to operate in crowded environments such as OU events, city festivals, downtown, and Campus Corner.
Officers on bikes allow for much more public interaction. By removing the metal barriers, noise, and speed of a vehicle and adding a non-traditional uniform, the officers are more frequently approached by citizens and children leading to many positive interactions. Officers also assist with providing bike safety instruction to members of the community through schools, Safety Town, and riding organizations. Positive community interactions such as these are a key element of the departments COP and crime prevention efforts. The team also works very closely with the OUPD bike team. While the teams are officially separate parts of their individual agencies they work together in nearly all aspects as if they were a single unit.
Team members are issued specialized uniforms and equipment to allow them to complete their jobs in a safe and efficient manner. The team uses mountain bikes that are specifically made for law enforcement use. The bikes are designed to allow for the added equipment, weight, duty belts, extended use, and rough terrain that a normal bike does not experience. In addition, most of the bikes are outfitted with emergency lighting and sirens to allow officers complete their assignments much like a patrol vehicle. Officers on bike can complete every task that a vehicle based officer can do including traffic stops, calls for service, patrols, and even pursuits. The bikes only true limitation is its long range speed, an officers safety during poor weather, and the ability to safely transport persons in custody.
Team members receive bike related training to specialize their riding skills and adapt them to the hazards of completing police work in the biking environment.
Canine Handler - K9s
The mission of the Norman Police Department's K9 Unit is to locate suspects and evidence at or near crime scenes and to provide protection and backup for officers when possible and practical. Generally, a K9 team will be applied as a sophisticated tool to enhance the capabilities of patrol officers or others at a crime scene. The K9 Unit consists of three highly specialized teams. Two teams are assigned to the Operations Bureau and one team is assigned to the Support Bureau.
Sgt. Harper - K9 Jax
MPO Hicks - K9 Vader
MPO Jones - K9 Expo
The K9 Unit is supportive to all divisions within the department. Each K9's abilities include but are not limited to: building and evidence searches, detecting narcotics, trailing and/or tracking, area searches, pursuing and detaining suspects when warranted, and becoming aggressive to protect an officer and its handler when warranted or stimulated to do so.
Collision Investigation & Reconstruction Team
The Collision Investigation Reconstruction Team (CIRT) is primarily responsible for the investigation and reconstruction of all collisions that result in fatalities and/or critical injuries, are complex in nature, or when otherwise requested by an on duty supervisor. In addition to its primary collision related duties, CIRT also commonly works with the NPD Criminal Investigations Division and other Law Enforcement agencies by assisting with the detailed documentation of their crime scenes. CIRT is also tasked with collision related department training and community presentations.
The team is comprised of members from the Norman Police Department and the University of Oklahoma Police Department. This partnership allows both departments to merge their personnel, resources, training, and experiences together in a mutually beneficial atmosphere that results in an increased level of service for the communities they each serve. Team members from both departments respond together to approximately 30 CIRT investigations and/or activities each year. This partnership has been in place since 2005 and has been a great asset to everyone involved.
Crisis Intervention Team
The Norman Police Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) was formed as a response to individuals in, but not limited to, mental health crisis. The Norman Police Department's CIT is based on the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention which was created in 1987 by the Memphis Police Department, University of Memphis and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The CIT provides support to officers and leaders in the field regarding mental health issues.
The Norman Police CIT program consists of officers who have volunteered to attend a forty-hour training course. The course is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) with support from NAMI.
Instruction consists of training in mental health law (Title 43A of the Oklahoma Statues), mental health diagnosis, veteran’s issues, substance abuse, and juvenile issues. The training incorporates panels of mental health providers, mental health consumers, and families of mental health consumers and visits to the local mental health facilities. The students must also participate in and successfully complete a number of scenarios based on actual mental health-related calls for service.
Course instructors come from ODMHSAS, Oklahoma City Police Department, Tulsa Police Department, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, Midwest City Police Department, Edmond Police Department, Moore Police Department, Cleveland County Sheriff's Office as well as instructors from the Norman Police Department.
The Norman Police Department currently has more than 70 commissioned officers as well as communications officers who are CIT trained. A lieutenant acts as a coordinator and a captain as the team's commander.
Hazardous Devices Unit
The mission of the Norman Police Department's Hazardous Devices Unit (HDU) is to conduct all investigations into reports of devices or materials that could be hazardous in nature.
Before 1972, NPD had no formal bomb squad. A series of individual police officers, who possessed military training, were responsible for incidents involving explosive devices. That year, the department sent its first officer to the Hazardous Device School (HDS), a joint effort between the United States Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to train civilian bomb technicians, in Huntsville, Alabama. By the early 1980's, the department had three certified bomb technicians creating the first three-person, NPD Bomb Squad.
In 2001, the Bomb Squad transitioned into the Hazardous Devices Unit after members responded to 210 calls for service regarding anthrax during that year alone. At the time, the Bomb Squad was the only entity prepared to handle incidents involving biological or chemical attacks within the City of Norman leading to the birth of the HDU.
From humble beginnings when the tools of a bomb technician fit in a single briefcase, the NPD HDU now possesses over one million dollars worth of equipment. In fact, it is one of only seven certified squads in the state of Oklahoma. Today, the HDU includes six certified bomb technicians and one explosive detection K-9s afforded through a partnership with the University of Oklahoma Police Department. The HDU also maintains four full-coverage bomb suits, four designated response vehicles, a robot, multiple x-ray systems, specialty tools, biological/chemical/radiological detection equipment, and a command trailer.
The mission of the Norman Police Department Honor Guard is to render honor to our fallen brothers and sisters in law enforcement and public safety who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting their community.
In 1991, the Norman Police Department formed the first dedicated Honor Guard Team. The team was comprised of 17 commissioned personnel, from different bureaus, who expressed a desire to serve on the team on a voluntary basis. The team's primary duties are to render ceremonial honors at funerals of officers that have died in the line of duty, funerals of retired officers and their immediate family members, memorial services, parades, police-related graduations and other appropriate events as determined by the Chief of Police. In 2014 the Norman Police Department purchased the agency's first dedicated Honor Guard Uniform. The team is currently authorized 22 commissioned positions. The team, on occasion, will combine with other Cleveland County public safety agencies to form a multi-agency team identified as the Cleveland County Joint Honor Guard.
The Honor Guard provides an active or ceremonial presence to all honorable law enforcement and public safety deaths in the state of Oklahoma and bordering states when practical.
"No greater service, no greater sacrifice... honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice"
Special Weapons & Tactics
The mission of the Norman Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team is to conduct tactical operations to peacefully resolve incidents that cannot be resolved by conventional police personnel, methods, or equipment.
The team began in 1974 and today serves as a multi-jurisdictional team comprised of members from the Norman Police Department, the University of Oklahoma Police Department, the Norman Fire Department, and Norman Regional EMSSTAT. Crisis Negotiators and Tactical Medics are combined with the tactical elements of the team to form a group of highly trained personnel who are dedicated to provide the highest level of service and safety to the citizens of Norman.
Members of the team participate in a variety of community events and presentations, educational programs, and critical incident exercises with schools, businesses, churches, and other emergency responders. The SWAT Team falls within the Operations Bureau of the Police Department.
Uncrewed Aerial System Unit
The mission of the Norman Police Department’s Drone Program is to provide airborne support to police operations in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner to compliment the department’s mission of serving the community.
Remotely operated Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), also commonly referred to as drones, are an efficient and effective way of providing law enforcement critical information to respond to calls for service and emergency situations, or to conduct criminal investigations. Some examples include; providing an overhead view of an area or incident for ground personnel, safely clearing the interior of buildings, providing detailed documentation of crime and accident scenes, and searching for lost or missing persons.
The team was established in 2022 and falls within the Operations Bureau of the Police Department.