Weatherford Police Department is creating a street crimes unit to address quality of life issues in the city.
The unit is a hybrid of the patrol and investigations divisions and is designed for both rapid deployment and longer-term investigations, WPD Chief Lance Arnold said.
Arnold said the unit will start with three officers, which includes a sergeant, the K9 unit and an officer from the Parker County and Weatherford special crimes unit.
“Eventually down the road, our goal is to add officers as we can for that unit, not to make it too big but to be able to handle more activity and may potentially work with the surrounding communities if they had officers that they would want to be a part of that, to make it more of a multi-jurisdictional type unit,” Arnold said. “Initially, the goal is to look into the needs of our community and see where we begin and a plan to address certain things.”
Years ago, Weatherford was involved in a street crimes unit, which became the Weatherford and Parker County special crimes unit, Arnold said.
Sgt. Jason Hayes, who will be leading the unit said the unit will target specific criminal activity and examine trends.
“If we have a rash of burglaries or something’s going on, we will target more police enforcement toward specific criminal activity,” Hayes said. “That will include narcotics and could include a variety of things depending on the needs of the citizens and the needs of the department.”
The unit is being created at a time of change at WPD, in which officers are being transferred to different areas of operation. In fact, the three WPD officers in the special crimes unit are being pulled out and reassigned, Arnold said. Arnold talked about how change allows WPD to keep a fresh perspective and prepares future leaders.
The street crimes unit officers will be able to focus their attention in a variety of areas, Arnold said. They would be working on crime analysis, gathering information and investigation.
“It’s not focused just on narcotics, it’s not focused just on property crimes or not focused just on persons crimes,” Arnold said. “It’s a unit that is very agile and responsive and flexible.”
The unit will also focus on trends and be able to carry out tasks that investigators can’t fit into their workload, such as stake-out operations, Arnold said. They bridge the gap between patrol and investigations on certain issues.
Arnold said the unit will start by working with patrol but won’t roll out in full force until January.