CEDAR HILL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Police are crediting the actions of two ordinary citizens for helping in the arrest of a man they say kidnapped his girlfriend and held her at gunpoint in Arlington.
Cedar Hill Police arrested Brian Hinson, 51, on Wednesday after two of its Citizens On Patrol tipped off investigators regarding his location.
A felony kidnapping warrant had been issued previous by Arlington Police for Hinson’s arrest.
“We used to just go out and be the eyes and ears,” said Bill Pierce, a COP. “Now we’re a bit more than that.”
At least once a week, Pierce and Sterling Burns don their fluorescent green shirts and hit the road in Cedar Hill.
They spend their days in a specially-equipped car helping crack down on minor infractions police often do not have time to enforce.
“This ones the first time we’ve ever got a hit like this,” said Pierce.
They were cruising in the local Wal-Mart when an alert sounded on their license plate reader.
“Yeah, he was a bad guy,” said Pierce.
The truck belonged to Hinson who police said was wanted for holding his girlfriend hostage at gunpoint.
Pierce and Burns immediately called it in to dispatch.
“We backed off to where we were not real obvious and sat there and that was it,” said Pierce.
Five minutes later, police showed up and Hinson walked out from shopping.
“The officers were right there to make the arrest. He never saw it coming,” said Lt. Colin Chenault with the Cedar Hill Police Department.
Lt. Chenault calls their volunteer COPs a “force multiplier.”
“If they weren’t there when they were to capture the license plate hit and lead us to him, then he could still be on the run,” said Lt. Chenault.
He said it is guys like Pierce and Burns who help make North Texas a much safer place, one license plate at a time.
“It’s very rewarding in the sense that we’re able to help,” said Burns.
Cedar Hill Police are hoping to equip another car with license plate readers for civilian use in 2018.