Houston Police To Begin Training Officers To Staff Checkpoints
Sarge, an Anonymous Police Officer
March 23, 2010
The Houston Police Department is poised to do what no other civilian police department in the United States has yet to publicly do. On the desk of the Chief of Police is the authorization to begin training officers to staff checkpoints at key infrastructure points throughout the city.
Although the talk about creating such a group has been discussed among supervisors of the Special Response Group for years, only in the last few months have those talks become reality. This idea received support of the former Chief of Police Harold Hurtt, but wasn’t signed before he retired on December 30, 2009 due to it being under review by departmental lawyers. Now under the just-named Chief of Police Charles McClelland, it stands ready to be signed and implemented almost immediately.
The Special Response Group, which was created in 1992 to deal with protestors at the Republican National Convention is the main crowd control unit in the Houston Police Department. They receive 40 hours of training annually in riot control and mass arrest scenarios. This group has a sub-group called the Hard Team, which receive an additional 32 hours of more intense training per year. This training includes pain compliance techniques, dispersal of chemical agents, rubber bullets, crowd control grenades, as well as many other less-lethal munitions. Now, the Hard Team is poised to get another sub-group called the Checkpoint Team.
This Checkpoint Team will be armed with Assault Rifle Carbines with shoot to kill orders and tasked with manning sensitive areas such as airports, chemical refineries, and any other critical infrastructure locations. By the very nature of their training it is but only a small step for them to be tasked to man check points throughout the city, turning it into a defacto internment camp.
Houston, being one of the largest cities in the nation in both population and square-mileage, will be hard to lock-down without adequate manpower. That is why the Checkpoint Team will have an initial staffing of 300. If more are needed, those highly trained will be able to act as Checkpoint Leaders or a “train-the-trainer” situation.
According to a primary source federal money is being sought to offset the cost of creating and running of the Checkpoint Team, but the federal funding has not yet been approved. It seems the team will be created with or without the federal dollars.
This will be the first civilian police agency in the nation to begin this type of training, so it should be seen as the “beta-test” for expansion to other police agencies nation-wide (as is very common in the law enforcement field).