LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An armed warrant team has been added to the Angelina County adult probation officer department. Nine officers have finished their training this week and will soon be carrying weapons and making arrests.
Officers will now have different authority over probationers as a warrant team.
"The warrant team will go out and search for absconders, or fugitives from probation, or maybe people who have left treatment that we want to get back into treatment before they do something that bad like commit a new felony," said Adult Probation Supervisor Dustin Fore.
Last week, officers fired more than 6,000 practice rounds to make sure they're ready to make any necessary probationer arrest.
"We're only allowing officers to carry a .40 caliber or .9mm.," Fore said. "Typically you want to go with one caliber because it makes it easier to buy ammunition, plus if you're in a scenario where you have to start exchanging firearms or magazines."
Six probation officers will carry .40 calibers and the other three will be armed with .9 millimeters.
Retired army command sergeant David Keyser trained each officer with on-hand firearm instruction.
"It's very important to get the time on the range. A lot of our officers haven't had a lot of experience with firearms, so we get this week long training, " said Adult Probation Officer Lisa Page. "It really improves everyone's skills."
Lisa Page has worked as a peace officer and a former probation officer for Nacogdoches County, and she knows how important it is to feel safe while on duty.
"This is a new program for us. When I went to Nacogdoches they had been carrying firearms for years," Page said. "I think it's a good idea for to carry weapons because you never know how probationers will react. It's probably good that they know we'll be serving our own warrants now."
County judges have given probation officers approval to be armed on duty in Angelina County.
Both Angelina and Nacogdoches County probation officers are always assisted by police or sheriff's deputies to ensure safety when making arrest.
The nine officers will be officially carry weapons once they receive their TCLEOSE ID cards.