The recent increase in SWAT raids in the past month was the result of a special task force initiative by the Killeen Police Department.
Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble organized the task force, which was made up of about 30 police officers who were already a part of the department’s criminal investigations division.
That news came out at a meet-and-greet with Kimble at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Monday night.
The event was sponsored by the Killeen Police Department’s Law Enforcement Assistance Fund, and about 25 residents were on hand to ask questions.
“We went and got some very violent people off of the street over the last 30 days,” Kimble said.
The effort lasted about 30 days, and required the members of the task force to work nearly seven days a week while it was going on. Kimble said it will be difficult to keep up that pace, because the officers involved will have to return to normal duties.
The increased number of raids suppressed the homicide rate in the city, which is trending upward.
When 27-year-old Killeen resident Curtis Shelley was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke on Sunday evening, he became the first homicide in Killeen in 45 days. Prior to that, there were four homicides in the same amount of time, beginning with the death of Brandi Jo Cadena, 28, on Aug. 19 and ending with Stephen M. Rowe, 39, on Sept. 28.
The task force initiative relied on the execution of search warrants and arrest warrants, according to police. Killeen police obtained seven search warrants from Killeen Municipal Judge Mark Kimball that allowed them to enter homes in October, according to documents obtained by the Herald in an open records request.
Additionally, Brandon Olivares, 25, was arrested after a brief standoff in the 900 block of York Avenue on Nov. 3, after police obtained a warrant for arrest. He was charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
The exact number of arrests made and search warrants executed will be released in the near future, according to Killeen police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez.
The meet-and-greet was the chief’s second of the day. His first was at 11:30 a.m., with a group of District 1 residents, as a part of Councilwoman Shirley Fleming’s monthly neighborhood watch meeting.
For the second time, he was asked about an Oct. 25 no-knock search warrant execution in which there was a 9-year-old in the home. Police arrested Ryan ONeal, 19, on a felony weapons theft charge, and found drugs in his room. Family members were concerned if things went wrong, the 9-year-old girl could have been harmed during the raid.
“We take the necessary steps to keep everybody safe, one of the first things I did when I got here was evaluate the SWAT team ... Make sure they’re doing everything to standards,” Kimble said. ”I found it acceptable. I’m glad no one was physically hurt in this situation, Though nobody was physically hurt, there may be some emotional scarring, but trust me, we don’t look to intentionally hurt anybody.”
Kimble addressed a number of other issues during his hourlong presentation to the public. Among the questions was what police are doing about area gang violence.
About three weeks ago, representatives from KPD met with officers from other departments nearby, including the Harker Heights police, Waco police, and Belton police, and exchanged intelligence on local gang members. A lot of good came from that meeting, he said, but they can’t happen all the time.
“It takes a lot of manpower,” he said. “I have 50 people not doing their job because they’re in that room in a meeting.”