POSTED: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 5:15pm
UPDATED: Saturday, February 9, 2013 - 10:20am
They are having trouble training the team with no bullets.
ANGELINA COUNTY (KETK) — Probation officers have a risky job, and in some counties they are unarmed when they are on duty. But Angelina County plans to change that.
They are following Nacogdoches County, and other counties, and will start to arm some of their supervision officers.
Probation officer, Gilbert Luna says right now, “We're going in with ‘OC’ spray and our cell phones basically." Luna explains, when he makes visits to his offender’s homes, all he carries is pepper spray, a walkie-talkie and he wears a bullet-proof vest, and sometimes he says, that's not enough.
Luna says, "A lot of time it's unpredictable, you don't know what kind of mood somebody is in, you don't know what kind of mood their friends are in or their family, we dealt with hostile family members that really, particularly don't want you at their home."
Angelina county has decided to start a Warrant Team, where certain probation officers will be armed, and Luna says it's long overdue. "Just that piece of mind, to have that, at your hip, I guess you could say."
Supervisor of the Probation division in Angelina County, Dustin Fore says, other counties started doing this a long time ago, and it just makes sense. Fore says, "In Dallas county if someone absconds from a program, they have a warrant unit and they go out and get them!"
And that is exactly what they plan to do in Angelina County, but they want to make sure their officers are safe. Fore says, "We don't want our officers out there serving warrants, handcuffing people without protection."
He hopes to have the Warrant Team out in full force by the summer of 2013 but the reason they have to wait until summer, is because they are unable to perform their required TCLOSE firearms course, due to a lack of ammunition.
The reason they have to wait until summer to get going, is because they have to have a certain type of firearm training.
"We have to go through a week long TCLOSE firearms course, and it includes two days in the classroom and three days on the range, some night shooting, we will end up shooting about six thousand rounds, between the ten of us, but right now it's hard to get six thousand rounds, it’s hard to get a box of ammo."
Fore says they did order ammunition for the training but he said they could have to wait months to get any in, which is why the Warrant Team won’t begin until summer, maybe.
He says right now Angelina County will start with a ten person Warrant team, but it could expand to arm all probation officers in the future.