Regional Security Office Dar es Salaam Helps Create Tanzania's First Crisis Response Team

November 20, 2015


Aristotle declared, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” That seems to be the philosophy the Regional Security Office (RSO), U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam, ascribed in helping select a group of the most promising police officers and turning them into an elite unit of Tanzania’s first Crisis Response Team (CRT).

Since its creation in July 2014, this S.W.A.T.-style CRT has recovered the equivalent of $170 million stolen in a bank robbery; located a cache of weapons in a remote village where violent assailants had hidden them; and tracked down armed gang members hiding in a cave after shooting four Tanzania Police Force (TPF) officers and killing a Tanzanian soldier.

  Date: 08/15/2015 Description: Members of Dar es Salaam's CRT practice shooting M4 rifles at a range in Virginia during a CRT course. Diplomatic Security's Office of Antiterrorism Assistance worked closely with Mission Dar es Salaam to provide training and equipment for the team, August 15, 2015. (U.S. Department of State photo)   - State Dept Image
Members of Dar es Salaam’s Crisis Response Team (CRT) practice shooting M4 rifles at a range in Virginia during a CRT course. Diplomatic Security’s Office of Antiterrorism Assistance worked closely with Mission Dar es Salaam to provide training and equipment for the team, August 15, 2015. (U.S. Department of State photo)


In this recent Q&A with Diplomatic Security (DS) Public Affairs, RSO Dar es Salaam staff members explain how
it was done.

What prompted the creation of this program?
The RSO shop approached TPF leadership, including the Inspector General of Police (IGP), to discuss the need for a CRT, especially given Tanzania’s porous borders, escalating terrorist threats in East Africa, and a deficit in tactical capability to address those issues. Over several detailed meetings, we received buy-in and permission to select the team.

It just so happens one of our special agents was once a S.W.A.T. police officer, served in the U.S. Marine Corps’ Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company, and completed DS’ High-Threat training. He was able to use his training and experience to tailor a program specific to Tanzania and then launch it.

How are the candidates chosen?
DS created a CRT program testing process that included a grueling endurance course, a rifle/pistol marksmanship test, and a written test designed to identify candidates based solely on merit. Over the course of two days, candidates ran through a series of tough, simulated scenarios that tested both body and mind.

While candidates completed the strenuous endurance course in Arusha, Tanzania, that included running while wearing heavy body armor and flipping an enormous tractor tire, at least 200 curious spectators stopped along the road to watch, which was very motivating for the testing officers.

 Date: 08/21/2015 Description: Dar es Salaam CRT members move in a tactical stack during training in Virginia, August 21, 2014. (U.S. Department of State photo)  - State Dept Image

Dar es Salaam Crisis Response Team  members move in a tactical stack during training in Virginia, August 21, 2014. (U.S. Department of State photo)


Once they were selected, what training did the team receive?
Once the CRT members were chosen, they traveled as a team to the U.S. for CRT training from DS’ Office of Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA). Follow-on courses in topics such as responding to an active shooter, border patrol interdiction, and mitigating explosives were also part of CRT’s curriculum. At the ATA-hosted East Africa Joint Operations Border Security Consultation and Capstone Exercise this past summer, trainers were very impressed with how well the Tanzanian team performed.

Where does the funding come from?
From a combination of DS and ATA funds. The bulk of it was for tactical equipment and training, which ATA provided. Also, the TPF had new rifles and pistols that ATA had donated in the past. So we assigned them to the team. In addition, ATA donated a whole gamut of additional equipment, making this team one of the best equipped units in East Africa. This included breaching entry tools, medical kits, flashlights, vests with trauma plates, helmets, ballistic shields, targets, handcuffs, realistic training weapons, explosive IED training replicas, binoculars, gas masks, and more.

Any future plans for this program?
At the request of TPF Inspector General, several members of the RSO staff travelled to Arusha and Mwanza, Tanzania, to conduct a selection course for nearly 250 volunteer TPF officers in order to create two more CRTs. This time, three current Dar es Salaam CRT members assisted RSO with the selection process. They are beginning to take ownership of the program and want to build up the tactical capacity within the TPF. The 24 TPF officers who were selected will be attending the next ATA-sponsored CRT course in the United States in 2016.

This past summer, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete wanted to know who his best 911 force was and found Dar es Salaam’s CRT to be the most capable. Clearly, this program is off to a good start.

 Date: 08/27/2015 Description: The Tanzania Police Force Inspector General Ernest Mangu (center, wearing beret) attends an equipment/patch ceremony at U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam. As he inspects the equipment, he and a DS special agent (left) discuss the finer points of a rifle optical sight, August 27, 2015. (U.S. Department of State photo) - State Dept Image

The Tanzania Police Force Inspector General Ernest Mangu (center, wearing beret)
attends an equipment/patch ceremony at U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam. As he inspects
the equipment, he and a DS special agent (left) discuss the finer points of a rifle optical sight, August 27, 2015. (U.S. Department of State photo)