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Be Ready Herriman Meets with UPD for CERT Utilization

Jul 13, 2016 09:14AM ● Published by Hope Zitting

This map illustrates the many different areas that Herriman City CERTs cover. –Hope Zitting

Gallery: Be Ready Herriman Meets with UPD for CERT Utilization [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Hope Zitting | hope@mycityjournals.com


On May 26, the Unified Police Department taught a class on the effectiveness of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in missing person cases and how to use CERT when children go missing in residents’ neighborhoods. The class was held at Fire Station 123 in Herriman, located at 4850 West Patriot Ridge Drive.

​Unified Police Department Lt. Carr of the Herriman Precinct and the Herriman City Emergency Coordinator Tina Giles taught the Be Ready Herriman meeting.

​Carr began the meeting by referring to a PowerPoint Presentation named, “Effective Searching: A Guide to Practical Application.” The slideshow explained that there are three different levels of searchers. Law enforcement is at the top level of searching, CERT is the next level and Citizen Volunteers are at the bottom level of effective searching.

​Citizen volunteers are sometimes numbering in the thousands. Usually, citizen volunteers are often uncontained and have a pattern of erratic searching; they generally begin searching before the police are even notified. Often, these citizen volunteers will pick up evidence that should not be moved and bring it to the police.

​Community Emergency Response Teams, on the other hand, are a volunteer member force multiplier. As a result of thorough training and qualifications CERT members require in order to practice effective searching, these individuals are highly trained and well equipped. CERTs also have a firm understanding of Incident Command.

​The Incident Command System, as described by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “is a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.” This system aids law enforcement and other individuals in knowing where to go and where not to go, whether it be in hot zones, containment area, staging areas or media areas.

​A specific case that came up during the Be Ready Herriman meeting was that of missing person by the name of Fritz Helland. Helland was an 80-year-old man who went missing for a week and a half last October. The Unified Police Department issued a missing person advisory a day after he was reported missing on Friday. Helland’s family members told the police that he took his dog for a walk at 2:50 p.m. on the day before, Thursday.

​During the case, the UPD asked volunteers to help search for the lost man on that Saturday. The result was chaos; untrained civilian volunteers were everywhere on the crime scene, and trained CERT members had several individuals assigned to them, as there were not enough trained individuals.

“The elderly can walk,” Carr said during the CERT meeting with Be Ready Herriman. “The children we’ll find close; the elderly: they’re gone. We immediately now start out, depending on how many hours they give me when I get it. We do not start close. They walk so far, you would be absolutely shocked.”

“We got people telling us, ‘Oh, we saw him in a car; I think somebody gave him a ride to the parking lot,’” Carr said. “None of that ended up being true. We talked to a few people who said, ‘I did see him.’ It’s amazing how many people tell us after, even though we’re begging them on the news to tell us now’ they’ll wait until after. ‘Yeah, I did see him. I didn’t know if it was him, but I didn’t want to bother you.’”  

Carr urged residents to contact the police with any information they may have with any case that may be going on, as all CERT members already know.

For more information about the CERT program and how to get involved, go to Be Ready Herriman’s website at http://www.herriman.org/be-ready-herriman/.   

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