Now that Hopkins County Jail is once again in compliance with the Texas Jail Standards Board, according to Sheriff Butch Adams, members of the Texas Rangers and DPS put the jail to one of the toughest tests they have ever experienced—an Aryan terrorist/hostage takeover. Sheriff-elect Lewis Tatum said it presented the opportunity to test his “It ends at the jail” theory for such an event. The event was a first for Hopkins County Jail and to Tatum’s knowledge a first for any jail in the Northeast Texas area.
Tuesday afternoon a number of officers acting as terrorists took over Hopkins County Jail presenting a scenario of beating and killing jailers and taking over the central controls to the jail. Tatum told KSST News that the planning and training for such an event had been studied for about six weeks but the event itself came as a surprise to jail staff and the Sheriff’s office. He said that responding to the hostage take over were Texas Rangers, DPS, Hopkins County Sheriff’s investigators and deputies, Sulphur Springs Police, and members of the SWAT Team.
Tatum said the recent training had included hostage negotiations and steps to take during such an event. He stated that one piece of the training including allowing an avenue of escape for the terrorists. However, Tatum does not see that as an option for the local jail. He pointed out that if the hostages leave the jail the possibility of local citizens being injured or killed would be high. He stated that “it ends at the jail”. Noting that in the scenario, law enforcement and some inmates would have died; he said the price outweighed the potential of citizens being harmed. He pointed out that in the initial takeover, some jailers were killed in the enactment as the terrorists entered and began their assault.
The training proved beneficial to the various law enforcement agencies included in the action. He stated that what was learned was not pleasant but was most helpful in preparing for a hostage event should one take place. Tatum said even in a community such as Hopkins County and Sulphur Springs, this type of event is no out of the realm of possibility.