Joe Livers is working at the job he always wanted to do.
The Indiana State Police senior trooper is a member of Emergency Response Team 3 (formerly referred to as SWAT – Special Weapons And Tactics), one of three full-time teams in the state. “My team alone covers 32 counties,” the 1987 Batesville High School graduate says.
He has worked for the ISP for over 12 years, and admits, “I joined to be part of the ERT. There were no other (emergency response) departments around at the time, and I really wanted to do the SWAT stuff.” He has been a part of that for five years.
Each group consists of “one sergeant, the team leader; an assistant team leader; and 10 regular team members.” They are on call 24/7 and are responsible for active shooter situations, hostage situations and barricaded subjects. “We assist with high-risk warrants for any department and provide training to any department that requests active shooter training.”
The Batesville resident recalls a recent standoff incident in Sellersburg where his team was called in for a domestic situation. The suspect barricaded himself in a house. “We basically waited him out,” and he eventually surrendered, but only after shooting and injuring a Clark County deputy and killing an ISP K-9.
“We have served a lot of warrants in Franklin County .... (and) assisted when we had a guy in Aurora that was shooting from his apartment building.
“We do a lot of driving and a lot of training,” the 44-year-old reports. “We find old homes or farmhouses and get permission to go in them .... We’ve trained with other teams, including the Los Angeles SWAT team and New York Special Response Teams.”
Livers says the most challenging part of the job is “staying in shape .... (once a year) we have to take a physical training test to keep our position on the team.”
The most rewarding aspect is “being able to go out there and help protect the people I’m sworn to protect. I’m glad I’m in a position where I can do some good.”
The son of Rita Livers, Batesville, and the late Joe Livers Sr. has a son, daughter and a stepson. In his free time, he coaches youth football and baseball and works out. He is also finishing up his criminal justice degree.
Diane Raver can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
Former Emergency Response Team member Ed Krause, Batesville Community School Corp. transportation and safety director, was an ERT member for 15 years from 1981-96. "We probably did a lot of the same stuff (as they do now), but our equipment wasn't as sophisticated. We received training from the Los Angeles Police Department, FBI and a guy from England. We did a lot of high-risk warrant searches. "We had five eight-man teams for the whole state, which was divided into four quadrants with the Indianapolis area carved out of the center. I was in the southeastern quadrant." The Batesville resident recalls responding to Ku Klux Klan rallies, the Indianapolis 500 and Pan Am Games. About five years ago, being on the ERT became a full-time position. However, when Krause was involved, it was part time, "and they would only take so many from each district. Everyone on our team had other primary duties. There was a squad sergeant, detectives, patrol officers." His team would normally train one day a month, plus a weeklong annual training, he says. "Nothing ever went exactly as you wanted it to. You had plans, but everybody still had to improvise when needed. It was always challenging. Sometimes you had good info on a building or suspects and weapons, and other times you didn't. It was always interesting."