Public Safety News
Sugar Land Police Department
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Fort Bend County Partnership Enhances SWAT Response
Sugar Land, Texas – Fort Bend County's new tactical, armored response and rescue vehicle is expected to enhance the safety of SWAT officers throughout the region.
Known simply as the Bearcat, the newly realigned Fort Bend Regional SWAT Team will utilize the vehicle for deployments throughout the county.
The Bearcat, which carries up to 10 people, can traverse a variety of terrains. The vehicle has been utilized by police for barricaded situations, high-risk warrants, active shooters, dignitary transport and more.
The Bearcat has proven itself in the field as an invaluable resource in high-risk situations, most recently in Tyler, Texas, where a SWAT team last year approached a kidnapping and murder suspect who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Excerpts from a PoliceOne.com article follow:
The officers were investigating the house of Howard Granger, a suspect in the murder of Benjamin Gill Clements – the son of a former Texas governor.
The suspect fired 35 rounds at the Bearcat before a sniper brought him down.
"It allowed officers to approach the residence safely and protected them under heavy fire from a very high-powered rifle," said Tyler PD SWAT Commander Rusty Jacks, noting the vehicle saved lives and prevented injury to SWAT officers.
Fort Bend County purchased its Bearcat with an Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Homeland Security Grant Program.
According to FEMA, the UASI Program provides funding to address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism. Per the 9/11 Act, states are required to ensure that at least 25 percent of UASI appropriated funds are dedicated towards law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.
The Fort Bend Regional SWAT team is comprised of an east division staffed by the Missouri City, Sugar Land and Stafford Police Departments and a west division comprised of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and the Rosenberg Police Department.
The effort through the five agencies here is also a component of a higher security push in the Greater Houston area with other law enforcement agencies.
The objective of the regional team is to:
● allow for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel,
procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure;
● enable a coordinated response among various jurisdictions; and
● establish common processes for planning and managing resources.
The acquisition of the new Bearcat is one example that illustrates a year-long effort by law enforcement agencies throughout the county to collaborate more closely on regional partnerships, especially in the area of SWAT response.
Leaders of the Fort Bend Regional SWAT Team are shown with the team's new Bearcat. They include (L-R) Capt. Scott Soland, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and West Division Commander; Sgt. Wayne Coleman, Sugar Land Police Department, East Division; Sgt. Kurt Maxheimer, Missouri City Police Department, East Division; Sgt. Brian Baker, Rosenberg Police Department, West Division; Sgt. Patrick Herman, Stafford Police Department; Capt. James Davis, Sugar Land Police Department and East Division Commander; and Sgt. Reggie Powell, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, West Division.