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Chief Hurtt Invites Outside Review of Initial Taser Usage

April 4, 2005 -- In an effort to belay concerns raised by some within our community, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt today (April 4) recommended that a small committee be formed to review the particulars surrounding Taser usage by officers of the police department. The committee will be made up of both police and non-police personnel. No timeline is yet established for the creation of this committee, and Chief Hurtt is awaiting feedback from minority community leaders on who should even be on the committee.

The chief made the announcement following a meeting with community leaders from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the New Black Panther Party and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

"The Houston Police Department has nothing to hide, and we will make every effort to demonstrate our willingness to be transparent insofar as the law will allow us," said Chief Hurtt. The chief also stated that, "We must all, at some point, turn away from focusing on the sullied past if we are to move forward in strengthening police-community relations." Chief Hurtt recognizes that numbers themselves make up only part of the picture, so he is creating an opportunity to look behind those numbers to see if community leaders have lingering concerns after being made privy to more details. All those present at today's meeting concurred with the chief's recommendation.

The focus of the committee will be limited to the first 192 Taser discharge incidents only. There are no plans to create a standing committee or to have committee members do anything more than review the cases that have already been reported to the media and community.

DWR/JFC 4-4-05

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.