Part Two: Researching it
C – The SRU
Now that we have seen the characters and the structure of a basic Flashpoint episode, let’s take a look at what connects it all: the Strategic Response Unit.
As you may or may not know, the SRU per se doesn’t exists; it is actually based on Toronto’s Emergency Task Force (ETF).
The SRU/ETF only uses lethal force when necessary. Their main goal being to resolve the conflict peacefully with the less harm done.
You can often find in the show the use of some technical lingo.
It is pretty understandable in the context, but just to clarify, here is a rundown taken from the official CTV FP website:
Auto Transcriptor – A computer that automatically transcribes negotiations and team radio chatter, used as the official SRU record of an incident.
D-D’s – Distraction Device, e.g. a flash-bang, used to distract a subject.
Beanbags – Beanbag rounds fired from less lethal weapons.
Breach – To break open. SRU members will breach a door or window with a large ramming device to pursue a subject.
CQB – Close Quarters Battlehouse. A 360-degree, full simulation shooting range used for training.
CS Gas – Tear gas.
EDP – An Emotionally Disturbed Person.
Entry Team – A specialized SRU unit charged with breaking into a subject’s hideout, combining the element of surprise with overwhelming force.
EFE – Explosive Forced Entry, also called Aggressive Entry.
Glock – SRU sidearm weapon.
Flash-Bang – A grenade-type device that stuns and distracts subjects by emitting a loud bang and super-bright flash; it destabilizes the subject using the element of surprise.
JTF2 – Joint Task Force 2. An elite Canadian Special operations military unit that cross-trains with SRU.
Less Lethal – A weapon not designed to kill, e.g. rubber bullets, tear gas, Tasers. A team member assigned to use a less lethal weapon is referred to as “Less Lethal.”
Negotiator – Mediator or envoy. The negotiator’s job is to bargain with the subject to turn himself in, release hostages or navigate an otherwise positive outcome. Negotiation tactics are often employed before deploying force.
Ninjas – Nickname for entry teams.
OC Spray – Pepper spray.
Remmy 700 – Sniper rifle (Remington).
Red, Green, Black and White – Code words for the Left, Right, Rear and Front of a building.
Scorpio – The command that gives a sniper authorization to use lethal force.
SIU – Special Investigations Unit, a civilian organization mandated to investigate incidents involving deaths or serious injuries caused by the police.
Surfing – To pin a subject to the ground by lying on top of a police shield, on top of the subject,.
Time, Talk and Tactics – The three principles of an SRU team.
We can also quickly add to that list:
“I have the solution” – When the sniper has in his sight the loose gunman, ready to take the lethal shot.
“De-escalate” – Calming down the antagonist and the situation.
Also, after some kind of shoot-out, the SRU members yell “No harm!” to notify that, you guessed it, they haven’t been hurt.
The SRU also seems to use some kind of color-chart for their negotiation, measuring the antagonist’s danger level. The terms “De-escalating” or “re-escalating” will also be used around this chart.
It seems to be loosely based on various negotiating/psychological techniques but nothing quite concrete.
I did however found out a PowerPoint transcript of a 2006 conference named “De-Escalating Volatile Situations” with something that vaguely resembles a color-chart linked to a violent person’s awareness to his environment:
Five Stages of Alertness
Condition White – environmental unawareness
Condition Yellow – heightened state of awareness
Condition Orange – an undesirable event has occurred or is occurring
Condition Red – you must react now!
Condition Black – is one of panic, absolute terror, frozen muscles, mental paralysis, frenzy, and victimization
It certainly isn’t what is actually used on the show but in my opinion it seems quite close to what we have seen about it so far (mainly Episode 1×02).
Linking the whole thing with Stockholm Syndrome will probably get you a viable chart if you intend to use psychological negotiation techniques in your script.
The PP transcript linked above also has lots of other information regarding such techniques.
If you do find out the “real” negotiation color-chart used in the show (if it does exist) then please don’t hesitate to post it here.
Various other information (such as their equipment) on the ETF can be found on their wiki page, as well as a documentary on the ETF that CTV did a couple years ago. A summary of that doc can be found here.
Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion of our “Spec Flashpoint” series.