Crime StoppersFormer Bearkat Steven Squier recently was named to the Texas Crime Stoppers Council.
Former Bearkat Steven Squier wears many hats in Montgomery County.
As head of Montgomery County Crime Stoppers, Deputy Squier of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office works with citizens to get fugitive felons off the streets, to shut down drug operations, to close illegal gambling enterprises, and to uncover felony crimes. As a crime prevention specialist, he works in East County with Neighborhood Watch programs to enlist residents in fighting crime. As a Rape Aggression Defense instructor, he teaches women how to protect themselves in an attack. And as a Child Passenger Safety Seat Technician Instructor, he ensures that child car seats are properly installed.
He recently added another hat – he was appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as one of five board members for the Texas Crime Stoppers Council, which aids agencies around the state in forming and certifying Crime Stopper programs to be eligible for grant funding. He also sits on the Texas Administrative Code Review Board to help revise regulations on Crime Stopper programs.
“I am too active to sit behind a desk,” said Deputy Squier. “I get to do a lot of community outreach programs.”
Since 2013, Squier has run a successful Crime Stopper Program in Montgomery County, which relies on anonymous citizen tips to target felony crimes using a reward system. In 2014, the program was expanded to adjoining Liberty and San Jacinto counties. Every week, the program features the top 10 felons in these counties and generates dozens of tips about criminal activity in the area. Of the 459 felons featured by Crime Stopper in 2015, only 48 had not been captured by the end of the year, a success rate of more than 90 percent.
“Crime Stoppers can’t take all the credit,” said Deputy Squier. “Some of those were the result of traffic stops. We also send the top 10 felon list out to police on Wednesday before they are made public on Friday, so many of these folks are brought in by patrol…This gives citizens another way to give information to the police which can help them solve crimes in a shorter amount of time, without the need for police to knock on doors to find out information.”
In addition to rounding up felons, tips to Crime Stoppers led to the recovery of nearly $20,000 in stolen property, $103,000 in cash from drug-related crimes, and more than $700,000 in illegal drugs in 2015. It also helped track down felons who fled the state to Florida and Wisconsin. The toll-free number. 1-800-392-7867, generated nearly 1,500 tips, and its non-profit board approved almost $14,000 in awards, ranging from $100 to the maximum of $1,000. Each Crime Stopper program is run independently and can set its own reward policies. Montgomery County also manages private donations to Crime Stoppers and is currently offering a $21,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in a suspected homicide case.
After graduating from high school, Deputy Squier attended Sam Houston State University for a year in the Radio, Television and Film program, but left to work in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In 1995, he graduated from the Police Academy and took a volunteer reserve officer position in San Jacinto County while continuing to work in the prison system. Later, he spent five years working security in big box store, but could not “shake the itch” to be a police officer. In 2009, he went back to the academy again and continued working as a reserve officer in San Jacinto County before landing a job at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in 2010.
After spending three years in patrol in Northeast Montgomery County, he was sent to a class to become a crime prevention specialist, and soon was thrust into the role of attending community meetings in East County. His first meeting, after being up for 36 hours straight, was a “cop roast” where an angry crowd in Cut and Shoot attended a City Hall meeting to complain about a rise in burglaries in the community. Even though several law enforcement agencies were in attendance, it was Deputy Squier who offered a viable alternative – a Neighborhood Watch program. That program led to a 50 percent reduction in burglaries in the community and continue to fight crime to this day.
Squier is dedicated to teaming up with the community to help keep neighborhoods safe and secure.
“We do get tips on everything from animal control to capital murder,” said Deputy Squier. “The bulk of the tips are on our featured felons or giving us tips on narcotics and where they are. Crime Stoppers is massively effective and the numbers speak for themselves. We also see the value of Crime Stoppers in the community and we are involved with other agencies to help citizens address issues.”