The Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations (STOP) Team is a well trained, disciplined, professional tactical team that is prepared to respond at any time to any crisis statewide involving the use or threatened use of deadly force. Since its inception in 1971, the STOP Team has met the challenge of this responsibility. The STOP Team has provided tactical support and training to a variety of departments and organizations at the Federal, State, Local, and Military level. Typical calls for service include armed barricaded subjects, hostage situations, high-risk warrant service, wooded searches for armed subjects or lost/missing persons, VIP/dignitary protection, tactical response to armed emotionally disturbed individuals, civil disturbance and riot control, to highlight a few. Placing a premium on partnership and teamwork, the STOP Team has successfully resolved hundreds of incidents, many with the combined efforts of Federal and Local officers, and of other MSP specialized units such as the Hostage Negotiation Team, State Police K-9 Unit, AirWing Unit, Divisions of Field Services, Special Emergency Response Team, Investigative Services, and Marine Section.
Training and sustainment of core competencies is a continuing effort for the STOP Team. Team members attend seminars and training events nationwide. Members are certified in many tactical disciplines associated with high risk operations, to include entry into hazardous environments such as clandestine laboratories, and response to a Weapons of Mass Destruction event. As a result, the STOP Team continues its evolution to adapt to the many challenges and dangers that are a byproduct of free society, this in order to maintain a continuous service of excellence to the citizens of the Commonwealth.
In addition to internal team training, the STOP Team continues to provide external training and instruction for numerous departments across the region; a highly successful example of this is the Response to the Active Shooter training program. After the tragic events at Columbine High School and other school and workplace shootings, the STOP Team recognized the need to assist patrol officers in the safe, proper response to this type of incident. Due to a lack of available training for patrol officers who are the first to respond to critical incidents such as a hostage situation, barricaded subject, or an active shooter, the STOP Team developed and implemented a dynamic program to address these needs for local departments, the State Police, and Federal agencies. As of January 2005, over one hundred Departments have participated in this hands-on, reality-based training. The partnerships established through this and other training have greatly enhanced the STOP Teams ability to provide service and support to agencies not only across the Commonwealth, but throughout the New England region.
As a result of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the STOP Team was additionally assigned to perform a tactical patrol function at Troop F, Logan International Airport in Boston. The team, in conjunction with troopers assigned to the Troop F Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit and other Troop F uniformed personnel, provided a safe environment for the traveling public, resulting in a restored confidence in local airport security. Additionally, the STOP Team has been equipped and intensively trained to provide a tactical response to a Weapons of Mass Destruction event. Most recently, the STOP Team was heavily tasked to provide support to the Democratic National Convention held in Boston, and the disturbances that resulted from the World Series Championship of the Boston Red Sox.
The majority of STOP Team members are assigned to the Division of Field Services and work uniformed patrol. From the strong foundations of everyday contact in patrol work, our members hone their skills and maintain a credible link with what makes us all proud to be Massachusetts State Troopers.
In recognition of the greatly increased demand for STOP Team services, and the resulting operations tempo that the Team has experienced, Colonel Mark Delaney recently took unprecedented action. In January of 2007, Colonel Delaney assigned twelve additional STOP Team members to full-time tactical responsibilities . This has enhanced the ability of the STOP Team to deliver sought after training programs, as well as increase the team's capability to efficiently respond to calls for service. Most importantly, the opportunity to train and sustain core competencies that lead to professional success have been significantly enhanced, thus ensuring that citizens of the Commonwealth have the best tactical assets available that the Department of State Police can provide.
TO CONTACT THE STOP TEAM:
Team Commander Sergeant Aaron V. Washington can be contacted at 978-772-8800. Team members reside throughout the Commonwealth for quick response to calls for service.
Law enforcement agency requests for emergency response by the STOP Team can be made through MSP General Headquarters at 508‑820‑2121 or by calling the nearest State Police installation.