The Lehigh County Municipal Emergency Response Team (M.E.R.T.) has more than 50 members in the following units: Communications, Hostage Negotiation Team, Oversight Committee Members, Tactical EMS, Tactical Dispatchers and Tactical Team Members.
The Tactical Team and Hostage Negotiation Team are police officers from different municipalities in Lehigh County.
The Municipal Emergency Response Team was formed and underwent training in September 2001. The Team became operational in April 2002 when it was activated for the first time.
The Team can be activated for a variety of reasons – when individuals have barricaded themselves in structures and threatened to harm themselves and others, when a suspect is holding someone hostage and when police are serving high-risk search warrants.
In addition, the Team performs other functions, such as providing VIP detail to assist Secret Service during President Barak Obama’s visit to the Lehigh Valley in 2009.
In October and November 2011, MERT members were chosen to participate in federally sponsored anti-terrorism training in New Mexico. Twenty special weapons and tactical team operators attended an intensive training course call Prevention and Response to Suicide Bombing Incidents. The course was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and was taught by independent contractors who are retired police officers and military personnel who specialized in anti-terrorism prevention and investigation.