The work of Jim Montero and his squad is headed to television…
A&E has given a green light to The Chicano Squad (working title), a four-hour docuseries chronicling the U.S.’s first all-Latino homicide unit dedicated to tackling Houston’s soaring Latino homicide rate in 1979.
The Chicano Squad is produced by Jupiter Entertainment and Bender Brown Productions for A&E.
Developed for Jupiter by Chris Spry, The Chicano Squad tells the story of the men who for the next three decades would earn the trust of the community and the department, becoming one of the most highly decorated law enforcement units in the history of Houston. Their story will be told by through first-hand accounts of the original squad members and those impacted by their work.
“The Chicano Squad were a groundbreaking group of law enforcement officers who broke down barriers and served their community with distinction,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for A&E. “This documentary will tell the untold story of the Chicano Squad, from their humble beginnings to their trailblazing work building trust between the police and the communities they served.”
Decades of disregard and corruption inside the Houston Police Department led to widespread police brutality and hundreds of unsolved homicides in the city’s Latin neighborhoods. One officer –Montero – has a vision to form a unit uniquely designed to solve them. In 1979, Montero and five bilingual Mexican American department rookies were given just 90 days to solve all open Latin murder cases, regain the trust of the community, and assist in any new crimes involving Spanish-speaking people.
With no prior homicide experience, unchecked racism and discrimination at all levels of the department, a corrupt police union, the highest crime rate in the country, and an immigrant community that is distrustful of the police, this first–of-its-kind unit of crime fighters lacked experience in homicide investigation and were forced to learn on the job. After 90 days, The Chicano Squad members ultimately proved they belonged and successfully cleared 80% of their cases. What started as an experiment became a permanent and crucial part of Houston Police Department.
Featuring new interviews with original members of the group, including Montero, Jose Selvera, Raymond Gonzalez, U.P. Hernandez and Cecil Mosqueda, the documentary series will explore how these men revolutionized community policing and went on to be an integral division in the Houston Police Department for decades, serving as the inspiration for other squads around the country.
Mario Diaz serves as showrunner, director, and executive producer.
A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights.