University of Georgia Police Department Special Response Team members have a phrase printed across their uniform shirts: Pro Custodia Vita. The phrase is a Latin translation of the team’s mission “for the protection of life.” That mission permeates all aspects of the highly specialized team’s activities, from selection, to training, to equipment. To accomplish its mission, the team only selects officers who demonstrate an above average ability to solve problems and make decisions under stress, a high commitment to physical fitness, and high proficiency in firearms skills. After selection, team members attend a set of specialized skills classes and undergo advanced firearms and tactical training monthly. Training focuses on response and safe resolution to high-risk and extremely dangerous incidents.
In addition to training, team members have access to a wide array of specialized tools to assist in its life saving mission. The special response team employs such tools as ballistic shields and vests, chemical munitions and less lethal platforms. All equipment and tactics are designed and used with the ultimate goal of saving lives. The UGA Special Response Team consists of response team operators and a precision marksman element. The team also trains and works closely with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department SRT and other tactical teams in the area to provide a better-coordinated service to their community and others. Team members come from different functional areas within the department.