LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock police officers returned from Houston this week after completing a weeklong training regimen with the Houston Police Department, part of the unique skills taught to officers with the “Special Response Group.”

LPD touts the group as one of the most finely trained group of specialized officers in West Texas, focused on creating versatile first responders for some of the most volatile situations — like large demonstrations and active shootings.

“This is the only department for maybe five hours in any direction that can put together such a highly trained, a highly versatile, and most importantly for us, a highly professional group of officers — up to 50 officers that can make an organized response to any part of our region. We’re the only department in the region who can do that,” LPD Sergeant Chris Paine said.

LPD’s latest training with HPD focused on facilitating organized protests and maintaining peace in large, public gatherings. It is the fifth group of eight officers that LPD has sent to learn in Houston. Other trainings have focused on active shooter response.

“These are men and women who don’t wear a special patch… [but] they train every single month, sometimes up to three times a month, in very difficult scenarios and in situations that are meant to be uncomfortable and dangerous,” LPD Lieutenant Jason Lewis said. “I’d like to bring some recognition to those people who do it because they love this city and want to be there in case something bad happens.”

Earlier this year, SRG officers traveled to Uvalde to relieve local law enforcement and facilitate funerals.

“They’re the perfect people to send down… whether it is an active shooter, or a disaster and we need to go and just help people,” Lt. Lewis said.

Part of this training stresses coordination with other first responders like Lubbock Fire Rescue, which remarked on the importance of forming a personal and professional relationship with police before arriving on a scene.

“This team really shows how well the city is covered from fire and police. We really are working together… to make sure that all the citizens and everybody that visits Lubbock is always taken care of,” LFR Battalion Chief Kevin Ivy said.