A man barricaded inside his home with his girlfriend and two kids on a busy residential street on Saturday afternoon is always an intense situation, but when an emergency response team is more than two hours away, it's worse. That's what Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant told commissioners Monday while requesting permission to join the area multi-jurisdictional emergency response team.
"This will be a group of officers and officials with a large amount of training and experience in high risk situations," Bryant said. "For example, when (Juan) Reyes was taken into custody on a capital murder warrant here in Erath County, this team came to assist since it was a high risk warrant."
The team, which originated in Hood County, is made up of an elite group of highly-trained officers who have been selected by their superiors and approved by the organization's board of directors. Bryant said the group trains together regularly and attends classes to further educate them in tactics and negotiation.
"There are so many incidents where we have barricaded subjects or barricaded subjects with a family member or loved one inside with them," he said. "This team is trained for those and other kinds of situations specifically. And where the DPS team, who is also trained like this one, could take up to five hours to arrive on scene, this team is made up of local people who can all be on scene within about an hour."
Bryant said to participate, there is a requirement that the organization collect a yearly fee of $10,000 as well as contributing personnel to the team.
"While I don't have the funds budgeted at this time, I have been told my department can still be a part of the team so long as we provide at least one person to the team and I serve on the board of directors," Bryant said. "Since this team originated in Hood County and we're so close, I was told that the organization wanted Erath County to participate. After looking into it I realized we didn't have the money and not much personnel to contribute currently. However, if I serve on the board and I send one of my officers to hostage negotiation school, we can contribute that way until we figure out other ways to be a part."