An Interview with Officer Aaron Day of the Montrose Patrol
Officer Day is a 15-year veteran of the Houston Police Department who also works with the Montrose Patrol.
I’ve read Meagan Flynn’s Houston Press story about being robbed in Montrose, but can you tell the story from your perspective?
My partner Joe Mabasa and I were working bike patrol for the Montrose District that day, and Ricardo Gonzales was working in the patrol vehicle that the District provides. Joe and I were on Westheimer when we received a call about a theft in progress at the Walgreens on W. Gray, so we decided to ride back to the office, drop our bikes off, and hop in the car with Ricardo. While we were in route to the scene, we heard on the radio that another armed robbery had occurred at Missouri and Waugh, and they provided a description of the vehicle, a red Jeep. We were at the intersection of Montrose and West Gray, and we saw a red Jeep getting ready to go north on Montrose, so we began to follow it, and let the dispatcher know that we had a potential armed robbery suspect. After three or four blocks, a couple of marked HPD units got there and tried to pull the Jeep over. And when they did that, the Jeep took off.
Were you part of the HPD car chase?
The Montrose Patrol can’t participate in a pursuit because we are not in a marked police vehicle, but we followed at a safe distance. The suspects’ vehicle ended up crashing into a house in the Heights, and we were approximately 45 seconds behind. When we arrived at the scene, everything was in disarray, with multiple police vehicles on the scene, and officers running in the direction of where the suspects went. Then we spotted one of the suspects running, and Joe runs after him. He ends up tackling him to the ground, and taking him into custody. A witness then pointed the direction of where another suspect had run. Myself and an HPD canine officer went into the yard, and I could see the suspect trying to hide on the roof of one of the residences. I climbed onto the roof and took that suspect into custody before he could try to run again. A third suspect was caught by on-duty HPD officers a few blocks away.
So you actually had to get up on the roof of the house to catch one of the suspects?
Yes, he was hiding. The neighbors pointed out that one of the suspects had run into this particular yard, so I went into the yard with a HPD canine. Then I saw the suspect on the roof. I climbed onto the roof, and took him into custody. I had to lower him down to the officers on the ground so they could secure him.
Do you think the suspects would have been caught if you and your partner hadn’t spotted them at the intersection of Montrose and West Gray?
If we hadn’t been there, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been caught that day. I think they would have left the area and gotten away, and eventually committed more robberies.
How important is good communication between the Montrose Patrol and the HPD in situations like this?
We know a lot of the HPD officers by first name, and we have the same radio frequency, so when we get on the radio they immediately know who we are. They know what’s going on. We have really good coordination between the on-duty units and ourselves.
Have you noticed a reduction in crime since the Montrose Patrol was created?
Definitely. I really do believe the arrests we’ve made over the past five or six years that I’ve been here has helped a lot. A year or two ago, we had several members of the 59 Bounty Hunters gang engaged in organized crime, breaking into apartment complexes. We did an extensive investigation, and ended up catching them. They were responsible for numerous burglaries in the area.
What advice would you give to pedestrians on how to protect themselves from being robbed, and what to do if they become a victim?
The best thing to do is always be aware of your surroundings. Always be looking for something that might be off. If you do become a victim, if someone robs you, be a good witness. Try to pay attention to detail. Meagan did a really good job—she gave a great description of the vehicle and the suspects involved, and that’s what helped us in our pursuit.
Learn more about how the Montrose District keeps the area safe at our Public Safety FAQ