An old idea has new life in Harris County, with dangerous parole and probation violators the target of a reborn squad of crimefighters. The Zebra Squad is back at work and is already making arrests.
The Zebra Squad made headlines back in the early 1990’s, when deputies from Harris County Precinct Six Constable Victor Trevino’s office brought in more than 2000 parole and probation violators. The program was eventually merged with the patrol division, but now the Zebra Squad is back on the streets. Trevino says there’s plenty of work to do. “In Harris County alone we have over 6000 parole and probation violators today and I just saw it as a serious problem that we let it creep back up,” says Trevino. “My commitment is now to keep the Zebra Squad consistent. They’re going to do this every week.”
The squad is made up of 12 reserve deputies who volunteer their time, working from a list of the worst violators. Since it returned in early May, the squad has picked-up 12 parole and probation violators, including a convicted murderer.
The Zebra Squad’s commander, Sergeant Andy Thrash, says it’s not easy tracking down dangerous criminals, a job that takes a lot of time and resources. “We spend a great deal of time doing research, reconnaissance work, surveillance work and just a lot of detective work, leg work to try to locate these individuals,” says Thrash. “We spend on average three to four nights a week. When we have good information then we will go ahead and attempt to execute the warrant.”
Just last week, while tracking a parole violator, the squad also arrested another man wanted for probation violation.