SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department's Violent Crimes Task Force will be getting some extra help to fight gangs and violent crimes.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced he will deploy resources from the Texas Department of Public Safety after the city experienced a double-digit growth in violent crime.
SAPD Chief William McManus said Abbott made the crime-fighting offer.
"I don't know that we needed help. We certainly welcomed the help," McManus said at a news conference hours after Abbott's announcement. "So it's not, 'Why now?' It was an offer that was made, and I readily accepted it."
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DPS will supplement SAPD's Violent Crimes Task Force with the following resources:
- Trooper Strike Teams composed of Texas Highway Patrol troopers
- Violent Crime Squads composed of DPS special agents
- Felony Fugitive Team composed of Texas Rangers and tactical support personnel
- Intelligence Team composed of criminal analysts
- Communication and surveillance support personnel
- DPS aircraft and crew to provide around-the-clock air support capabilities in San Antonio
McManus said the extra resources will not be focused on a particular part of the city, but rather where it's needed.
"The task force is taken where the activity dictates. So it can be anywhere in the city," he said. "The more people we have, the more visibility we can provide. The more area we can cover, the more days of the week we can cover. More resources equal greater coverage."
He said there have been 4,100 arrests for violent crimes so far in 2017, including 400 gang members.
"That is a lot of arrests," McManus said.
During that time, the task force seized almost 700 weapons.
"I'm not talking about these ticky-tacky handguns. I'm talking about these high-powered rifles and semiautomatic and automatic weapons, as well," McManus said.
The task force seized 258,000 grams of drugs and more than $1 million in cash during the time period.
McManus doesn't know how long the extra help will last, and he doesn't guarantee that it will result in more arrests.
"I can't predict if there's going to be a drop in crime or not. All I can predict, though, is that there will be people continuing to be put in jail for committing crimes against our citizens. Criminals will find no quarter in San Antonio," he said.
In addition to SAPD and DPS, agencies that make up the task force are the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Abbott introduced a similar initiative in Harris County in August. The program has resulted in 339 felony arrests and 77 gang investigations in Harris County.
The arrests have also busted 25 robbery rings believed to be behind 198 robberies.