Office of Public Affairs
The Office of Public Affairs is commanded by a civilian deputy director responsible for media relations, community service functions, open records, awards/commendations, video productions, and maintenance of the department’s website. The office is organized into eight units:
- Community Liaison Unit: Senior community liaisons interact with various communities, ethnic and youth groups to provide feedback to the department on quality of life issues and community perceptions of crime. The unit facilitates the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and the Youth Police Advisory Council (YPAC).
- Community Outreach: This is a proactive and ethnically diverse unit of officers who liaison with segments of the community to diffuse conflicts and maintain communication. The unit meets regularly with community and business leaders to address public safety concerns and to foster positive community relations. The unit also coordinates several annual community events including the Comida Food Drive, Look Good Feel Good, Shop with a Cop, and National Night Out.
- Community Services: This unit consists of officers who provide crime prevention presentations, information, and materials upon request to community and religious groups, corporations and schools. The unit serves as the entry point and coordinating unit for the Volunteer Initiatives Program, which includes Citizens on Patrol and the Citizens’ Police Academy. Through state funding, the unit also coordinates a youth gang prevention and mentoring program in partnership with seven area Boys and Girls Club locations.
- Special Projects: This unit encompasses several components. The city council liai
son acts as a departmental liaison for public sessions of City Council meetings. The clergy liaison coordinates activities for the Police and Clergy Alliance (PACA) initiatives. A social media group posts and monitors information on HPD’s Facebook and Twitter sites, the HPD Blog, and Nextdoor.com. The unit also supports major community service events throughout the year.
- Media Relations: This unit is staffed with civilian public information officers (PIOs) who are responsible for releasing official department statements to the media, coordinating press conferences for investigators, and for the development of daily press releases. PIOs are available 24-hours a day to respond to high-profile incidents of media interest. The unit utilizes mainstream media outlets, CitizensNet and social media sites to promote department news and information.
- Multi-Media: This unit includes:
- − The Video Production Unit provides a daily digest of print and broadcast department-related news stories, produces educational videos and public service announcements, and videotapes HPD press conferences and media availabilities.
- − The Web Unit is responsible for the design of the department’s website, posting and maintaining web based content which also includes crime statistics, links to other city departments, and press release archives.
- − The Multi-Media awards coordinator ensures continuity of the awards and commendation process.
- Open Records: This unit is responsible for responding to requests for public information according to the guidelines set forth in the Texas Public Information Act. Staff works closely with the HPD’s staff attorneys and the Legal Department to request rulings from the Attorney General to protect the release of information that could jeopardize ongoing investigations or hinder the department’s police mission to detect and deter crime.
- Photography Laboratory: The Photo Lab photographs major events for the department and City of Houston. The Lab aids investigators and the district attorney’s office with mugshots, photo spreads, and photographs for trial. Care, custody, and control of photographic documentation are maintained in the unit.