Special Operations Unit

Captain Robert Terrell Johnson

Captain Steven Lowery
Special Operations Commander
615-741-5660 or 615-741-2060

It is the policy of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to employ the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Section to safeguard the lives of the general public and officers as they safely resolve unusual occurrences. The unit is charged with handling situations outside the typical duties performed by members within the Department. The Department will train and utilize these members to facilitate the needs of other enforcement personnel in the completion of specific duty-related tasks. This specialized unit is based out of Nashville to allow for deployment throughout the State of Tennessee.


Aviation Unit

The Aviation Unit is responsible for all air support and any other aviation related responsibility that assists the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and other public safety agencies. The unit utilizes its helicopter fleet for both criminal and non-criminal searches, hoist rescue, tactical operations, stolen vehicle location, marijuana eradication, and other tasks. Helicopters are equipped with various types of equipment, including Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) cameras, search lights, LoJack receivers, and the Downlink system. Helicopters and pilots are stationed in the THP Fall Branch, Nashville and Jackson districts. Aviation Unit pilots are recruited from within the ranks of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee National Guard collectively form the Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana Eradication and fly missions across the State. 


Special Weapons and Tactics

All Special Operations section members are trained in the special weapons and tactics (S.W.A.T.) discipline. Their duties consist of conducting high-risk search/arrest warrant service, resolving barricaded and hostage incidents, and providing security for foreign and domestic dignitaries. They also provide assistance to all Federal agencies and fellow State agencies, as well as city and county agencies statewide with prison riots or escapes, felony manhunts, and man-made or natural disasters.


Explosive Ordnance Disposal

Members of the Special Operations section are certified Bomb Technicians having completed the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama. Their duties require them to locate and render safe suspected bomb devices and or components that could potentially harm them or the citizens of Tennessee. This duty also calls for Technicians to destroy old and unstable explosives that are located across the State.


Search and Rescue

The Special Operations section has members trained as rappel masters, ready for deployment when called upon to perform search and rescue missions either by the helicopter hoisting system or rappelling.


Contact Us

For more information or assistance, contact one of the following at (615) 741-5660 or (615) 741-2060: