CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Ten officers at the Charleston County Detention Center have completed intense training and are now in the SOG or Special Operations Group, a new tactical tool for the detention center.
They are the first graduating class ever in the southeast.
Lt. Joseph Garcia trains officers around the world and says 60 percent of the applicants don't make it through. "A perfect candidate is one that meets the physical requirements has the mental profile to deal with high stress and has integrity," said Garcia.
This class also includes one of only three females to graduate as an SOG ever.
Chief Deputy Mitch Lucas says these officers will be on rotating, roving patrols throughout the Charleston County Detention Center 24 hours a day. He said it's a radical departure from normal procedures.
"Traditional cell extraction means five guys with a shield and gear rush into a cell made of steel and concrete and pin an inmate against a wall, wrestle them down and get them chained up," said Lucas.
But the SOG will be proactive and hands off.
Technology is key. On their body armor they've got chemical agents like pepper spray, breaching tools and devices like training blades. They also have repelling gear for hostage situations involving elevator shafts. When it comes to discharging their weapons there's a process that escalates. After verbal commands, they'll turn on their light then their laser and if the inmate still wants to fight they'll take it to the next level.
Their weapons are attached to them and their ammunition is non-lethal. There are also cameras attached to each officer that will record audio and video of every situation. It's a way for them to keep inmates and officers safe. They are using technology to improve transparency and training.
Lucas says they hope to train 26 of these SOG officers.