AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Police Department now has a team dedicated to responding to shootings.
Cpl. Jeb Hilton said APD’s shooting response team was created late last year after a rise in shootings with more witnesses.
“It just came down to having more people to be able to investigate at that time,” said Cpl. Hilton. “We had had some shootings that were happening that were larger scenes and we were having patrol officers and some of the detectives that were in the violent crimes units trying to handle everything, which kind of put them behind a little bit.”
He said the response team is a group of detectives on standby for big shooting incidents.
“It also gets detectives that know the exact questions that they want to ask so that we’re not having patrol officers asked questions where detectives have to come back later and maybe fill in some blanks that they didn’t get at the time.
Cpl. Hilton said when they respond, it streamlines the investigation process.
“Being able to get more people out there, a pretty quick response was able to get us these affidavits and a lot of witnesses interviewed a lot quicker, which allowed us to start the investigation a lot quicker,” he continued.
According to Cpl. Hilton, on-duty officers will still respond but the shooting response team frees them up to answer other calls.
“I think it’s been a very good asset. It’s something that we’ve been able to, you know, relieve some of the patrol guys making sure that they can still answer calls, and that they’re we’re not getting calls stacked up while we have these big incidents,” Cpl. Hilton added. “And it’s allowing the detectives to get onto suspects and different people quicker, which allows us to get these cases solved a lot quicker.”
Cpl. Hilton said APD would like to see the number of shooting decrease, but the response team is ready when needed.