The SLED Arson Unit’s Mission is to provide quality manpower, assistance and expertise to local agencies throughout the State of South Carolina. Members of the SLED Arson Investigations Unit are trained in numerous disciplines related to the field of fire/explosion investigations. Arson Agents process each individual scene and render an expert opinion as to the origin and cause of the fire. If the fire is found to be “Incendiary,” Agents investigate the case from the initial crime scene until the case is adjudicated in a court of law. In addition to responding to calls for assistance, these Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the Arson Investigations Unit provide training to local agencies throughout the state in coordination with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy (SCCJA) and the South Carolina Fire Academy (SCFA).
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Aviation Unit provides 24-hour a day aviation assets to all Law Enforcement agencies in the State of South Carolina. The Aviation Unit has provided assistance throughout the state in; missing persons, fugitive searches, narcotics operations, surveillance, personnel and asset transport, tactical operations/SWAT support, hoist and lift operations, natural disaster response, Bambi bucket operations (aerial water delivery), executive/ presidential details, national security operations, port security operations and transport operations. Aviation Flight Log Available Here
The SLED Bloodhound Tracking Team is a specialized tactical unit that assists federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement in locating wanted and missing individuals by utilizing bloodhound-mix tracking dogs. The team provides K9s in support of SWAT and fugitive operations to include: apprehension, building search, tracking, and article search. The team also promotes positive public relations throughout the state by conducting presentations to the community.
The Bloodhound Tracking Team is centrally located at SLED headquarters in Columbia for rapid deployment to all areas of the state. The Tracking Team is supervised by a Lieutenant and 6 full time Special Agents. All members of the Tracking Team are also assigned to the SLED SWAT team with members serving on entry, sniper, and containment teams.
Tracking Team History
SLED's Bloodhound Tracking Team started not long after the state police agency was founded in 1947. Legend has it, longtime Chief J.P. Strom bought the first two dogs himself. Throughout the years, the SLED Bloodhound Tracking Team has built a strong tradition of breeding and training the highest quality tracking dogs. The dogs utilized by SLED are not true bloodhounds. Instead, the team takes bloodhounds and breed in redbone coonhound and blue tick hounds to give the dogs more stamina, and also make them stronger and more agile. Intense training of new pups, begins at 8 weeks old, and they are not given names immediately. Instead, handlers use hair dye and paint numbers in their fur so that they can be graded throughout their training. Out of eight to 10 pups in a litter, the team might keep 1 to 2. Once the hounds make the team they are given a name, and are continually trained throughout their working lifetime. In recent years, the team has added Belgian Malinois K-9s to the tracking team. The K-9s are utilized in the apprehension of fugitives, wanted or escaped persons, tracking, crowd control, locating articles, public relations demonstrations, and other needs of the Division. The K-9s are also used in SWAT operations as a deterrent to encourage a suspect to surrender before the dog is deployed. After deployment, the dog will locate and secure the suspect for the SWAT team. The advantages to surrender are obvious; the SWAT operators don’t have to risk entering a location and exposing themselves to the suspect or physically encountering the suspect. The K-9 Unit training includes a basic patrol school which includes obedience, officer protection, criminal apprehension, building search, evidence recovery, crowd control and tracking of wanted or missing individuals. Each team tests for recertification annually.
The SLED Bomb Squad responds to all types of explosives - related calls for service, such as; improvised explosive devices (IED’s), Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) missions, explosives recoveries, military ordnance, bomb threats, and pyrotechnics. The Bomb Squad also conducts routine proactive protective sweeps for special events, dignitary protection details, large gatherings, mass transit locations and other public safety venues. The Bomb Squad provides support and technical training to Federal, State and local law enforcement / public safety agencies in South Carolina and throughout the United States. In addition, the SLED Bomb Squad consists of team members certified as; Underwater Hazardous Device Technicians (UDT), Explosive Detection Dog Handlers (EDD), Breachers, Tactical Bomb Technicians (TBT), and subject matter experts (SMEs) in numerous specialized areas throughout the explosives industry. The Bomb Squad is an integral part of SLED’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Team (WMD), Maritime Response Unit (MRU) and SWAT Team.
Provide support to local, state, and federal agencies by planning, coordinating, or executing responses for planned special events, emergency situations, disasters, and critical incidents; Coordinate, support, plan, and respond to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) for all-hazard planning for critical incidents, natural or human-made disasters, and planned events in concurrence with the South Carolina Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Provide personnel to the Emergency Support Function 13 (ESF-13) cell during exercises and activation of the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center (SEOC); Provide support to United States Department of Energy (DOE) by planning, coordinating, or executing armed escorts of special nuclear material through South Carolina; and Provide support to local, state, and federal agencies by planning, coordinating, or executing responses for law enforcement protection and security for dignitaries, juries, and other identified persons.
The SLED Maritime Response Unit’s (MRU) mission is to protect the State of South Carolina’s maritime infrastructure through explosive, radiological and hazardous device detection sweeps and mitigation of incidents at those locations. Additionally, through the use of certified specialized divers, underwater robotics and other search and recovery – type equipment, the MRU provides manpower and support to our Federal, State and Local partners in the maritime environment.
The SLED Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team is a specialized team whose members are recruited, trained, and equipped to respond and resolve critical incidents that are generally out of the capabilities of standard law enforcement and first responders. The mission of the SLED SWAT Team is to SAVE LIVES and increase the likelihood of safely and peacefully resolving critical incidents. Within the SLED SWAT Team are smaller specialized units: Entry Team, Precision Long Rifle, Containment, Negotiations, EOD, and EMT. Operations that the SWAT Team performs range from, but are not limited to: Security/Protective Details, High Risk Warrant Services, Barricaded Subjects, Hostage Rescues, and everything in between. The SLED SWAT Team’s focus is to respond quickly, utilize tactical solutions, and mitigate casualties through specialized training, equipment, and tactics to greater serve the public of South Carolina and support all local, state, and federal agencies upon request.
SLED WMD Response Team is comprised of operators from the SLED SWAT Team, Bomb Squad, as well as personnel from the SLED Clandestine Laboratory Team and various other Hazardous Material Technicians throughout the state. The members of the SLED WMD Response Team are on call and available for response to calls for service anywhere within the state of South Carolina at a moment’s notice. The operators on the SLED WMD Response Team are capable of dealing with threats emanating from a wide array of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive categories and work hand-in-hand with the Federal Government and other JTTF/PRND partners to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of South Carolina.