Prostitution in Bryan: A Dirty Secret

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For over a year the Bryan Police Department has been cracking down on prostitution.
What started as an initiative sparked by numerous citizen complaints has turned into a sting operation targeting both the men willing to pay for sex and the women selling it.
On this particular evening police targeted the men soliciting prostitution.

The sting takes place just a few blocks away from downtown Bryan, in an area passed by many, but known by few.

It's on these streets men and women put their morals aside.
It's prostitution and it's in your backyard.
The good news? Bryan Police are cracking down.

For over a year a group of officers, all members of Bryan Police's Directed Deployment Team, have hit the streets to crack down on crime.
About once a month their mission is a prostitution sting targeting men agreeing to pay for sex.

"If there's a problem, you see it's a knife, you think he's threatening you in some way there's no code phrase," one member of Bryan Police's Directed Deployment Team said while briefing the team. "There's nothing, just help me I need help now."

It's a warning for the three female officers who will be undercover as prostitutes.

"We can take money, we can take crack, we can take watches, whatever it doesn't have to be money," one officer said.

According to Texas Penal Code when it comes to solicitation of prostitution, a person commits an offense if he knowingly offers to engage, agrees to engage or engages in sexual conduct for a fee.

On this night, the team expects to arrest 10 to 12 men for solicitation of prostitution.
To see the problem first hand the Bryan Police Department agrees to let KBTX ride along.

"You'll find many of the ladies have drug problems, drug problems are also connected with thefts and burglaries and it's all intertwined," Kyle Halbert, a member of the Bryan Police Department's Directed Deployment Team said.

Halbert is in charge of the operation.

"I get an adrenaline rush every time I leave the station house," Halbert said. "I think if you don't get nervous there's probably something wrong. If you don't enjoy your job you probably shouldn't be doing it."

The first target of the night is the area around Ferro's Grocery on 21st street.
The female officers hang around the outside of the store, while the team is strategically placed.

All ears tuned in to the first conversation of the night.

"What you need," the female officer asks.

"I need some h***," the man responds.

"Some what," the officer asks again.

"Some h***," says the man.

"What you got," the officer asks.

"Butter," the man says.

As soon as the deal is made, drugs for sex, we're on the move.

The suspect immediately clams up even though he had no problem expressing himself earlier.

The man was arrested on one count of solicitation of prostitution.

Police also found crack-cocaine in his back pocket, and charged with delivery.

"Many guys you get they've got jobs, they've got families, and if that word got out what they got arrested for they may lose their family, their job," Halbert said. "No telling what that person is bringing home to their family when they're doing what they're doing on the street."

This is only the first arrest. The female officers make the block and come back to the exact spot where they started.

"I'm a little nervous, you know it's a little different because you know all your co-workers are listening to you talk to these people, but that is part of the job," one of the female officers said. "Say what you got to say to get the job done."

This female officer has worked patrol for five years but this is her first night to assist DDT.

"It's a good experience and actually part of the area we're in is where I work," the officer said. "I see the problems first hand and I can do a little to stop it, I mean I roll up on this at night and it gets old."

The officers story is cut short because her co-workers have made another deal.

Again when we approach the men, they act like nothing happened.

But police have the conversation recorded and one man is arrested for solicitation of prostitution.The driver, also taken to jail for solicitation of prostitution.

"You don't have a wife, you don't have a girlfriend, maybe they do have a wife maybe they do have a significant other but for some reason they're looking for a lady on the street," Halbert said. "Their common characteristic is their self esteem. They'll make many passes before they finally may end up talking to the ladies."

And the cycle is non-stop.
It takes the team about three minutes to make the arrest and start all over again.

Tuesday night at 10 p.m. we'll continue our two-part series into prostitution in Bryan.