More crime calls for return of SWAT team in Humble

HUMBLE, TX (KTRK) -- Budget issues forced the Humble Police Department to shut down its SWAT team five years ago. But department leadership says with crime on the rise in the city, as well as more SWAT scenes playing out all over Houston, Harris County and the country, made the bosses do an about-face and bring the team back.

In a simulation we were invited to record Tuesday afternoon, a Humble police officer pulled a van over. As the officer got out of his unit, the van's driver got out, too.

The driver shot the officer, who proceeded to treat his own wound and call for backup. Officer down.

The officers are real, and they're part of a dwindling group of men trying to be part of the first SWAT team in the city in five years.

"Through time and the conditions with what's going on with society, our administration thought it would be best to bring it back at this time," says Humble police spokesman Sgt. Mike Flynt.

Sgt. Flynt was part of the last SWAT team, and is part of the group that will choose the new one.

"Since the deactivation, any time we've had something of that nature, we would have to rely on the Houston Police Department, and most recently the Harris County Sheriff's Office to assist us in any demand of that nature."

Sgt. Flynt says crime goes where the people go. And as development has increased in the last five years inside and just outside the city limits, crime has gone up. According to Flynt, that's especially true of crimes against people like armed robberies and burglaries.

He tells us the most common SWAT calls anywhere are domestic violence.

"When the officer shows up, they meet with that resistance and that's what we want to try to de-escalate these things."

Most people we asked about it while out and about in Humble on Tuesday were glad or indifferent. Paul Hester says he's on the fence.

"I've got mixed emotions about it," said Hester. "Crime has increased in Humble, but I don't know if we need more patrolmen on duty...whether or not we need SWAT is questionable."

Hester says the money spent on SWAT may be better spent on putting more patrol officers on the streets late at night.

"It's always a need for SWAT in case of a catastrophe or emergency, but SWAT out here is overkill."

The SWAT team will also be prepared to respond to neighborhoods just outside the city limits that are experiencing a boom in development.

They hope to have the team picked by mid-fall. And ready to roll them out if needed soon after.
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