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Elite Task Force Specializes In Finding Most Dangerous Fugitives

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – When the Dallas Police Department’s METRO Task Force goes knocking, they’re after the city’s most wanted criminals.

“We were started to target repeat and violent offenders,” explained Cpl. Jason Chapman.

This past week, the task force allowed a CBS 11 News camera to tag along as they worked. CBS 11 is the first TV station ever granted access.

Hunting a murder suspect, the unit did its homework, sent undercover officers into the area to watch the suspects potential hideouts, then moved in to surround two houses with uniformed officers.

While there is a plan and goal, officers don’t always succeed.

On this day, they didn’t find their suspect, but they did search his house from top to bottom before they left. While making sure their suspect wasn’t hiding in the attic, Officer Joe Lopez crawled through with a flashlight. “It’s like hide and go seek that you don’t want to lose,” he said. “You want to win.”

It isn’t unusual for the team to search in attics, crawl spaces and utility rooms.  “We’ve found them under houses before,” said Sgt. Richard Forness. “You wouldn’t believe… we found one guy in a dishwasher.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Created last December, this task force caught the Lake Highlands rape suspect, developed intelligence that led to the arrest of the Fair Park rape suspect, and cut the number of outstanding domestic violence warrants in half. In all, they’ve made more than 2200 felony arrests.

Lieutenant Scott Hart said task force members enjoy their work. “They’re loving this. This is what they became police officers for,” he said. Lt. Hart oversees the unit of just over 100 officers, who have become the police department’s fast action response team, focused on emerging crime trends.

“We try to turn on a dime in order to identify what the trend is and try to stop the trend,” Hart said.

Those in the task force say it’s rewarding work and they enjoy getting the worst of the worst in handcuffs.

“It’s about putting people in jail, that are hard to find,” said Cpl. Jason Chapman. “The people I work with definitely have the talent to go get them.”

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