Over the last few years, human-made and natural disasters, as well as civil unrest, have devastated parts of California and overwhelmed local law enforcement as they struggle to protect life and property. Recognizing the ever-increasing need for highly trained personnel to assist in times of crisis, the California State Guard (CSG) has been authorized to create a new unit called the Emergency Response Command (ERC).
An operational, non-combat force that will deploy and respond to disasters, the ERC is looking for active, retired and reserve officers to become part of its security forces element, called Team Shield.
“For those who have always wanted to serve, those who are serving or those who have served, joining the ERC is a means by which you can support our state with some of the critical functions necessary to deploy when California is most vulnerable,” California State Guard Recruiting Officer Steve Fazio says. “This opportunity provides a means to use skills for those who have a background or wish to learn the skills required to aid our state in times of need with like-minded citizens.”
Team Shield played a critical role in helping first responders during the fires that raged throughout the state last year, as well as assisting officers during times of civil unrest in Los Angeles in 2021. These incidents made clear the necessity of growing the volunteer group and looking for individuals who want to be part of the solution to California’s security needs when the state needs it most.
“When our communities and fellow officers are in need, we will be there to provide a ready-to-respond unit of professional service members who are highly motivated and trained in the support functions required to help stabilize catastrophic incidents, such as civil unrest, military base access control, security for critical infrastructure and traffic control,” Fazio says.
Team Shield has a certified program with qualified instructors who will train new volunteers in all that is required to carry out its mission. Training takes place one weekend a month, there is no age limit to join and the physical portion of the application process is very pragmatic. However, physical fitness is also required to be part of the ERC.
CSG members fall under the California Military Department, so the rank structure and uniforms are the same as those in the National Guard and other military forces. The CSG is a non-combat military unit that is a state asset and will not deploy overseas.
For individuals who would like to extend their military service or have always wanted to get involved in the military, this presents a unique opportunity to bring your knowledge and skills to assist California. Prior military ranks also carry over to the CSG.
“We have operational responsibilities, and the skills volunteers can expect to use include accessing control points for military bases, vehicle searches, handcuffing techniques, felony searches and bomb threat responses,” Fazio says. “We also perform a variety of critical administrative roles. In short, for those who have a heart and wish to serve, we have a place for you to do so!”