HPD Response to Union News Release
June 21, 2006 -- Public Safety
remains the uncompromising foremost priority of the Houston Police
That said, HPD welcomes feedback and input from all sources. This
includes an open-door policy, with Union leadership having open
access to Executive Staff meetings and the ability to request
any ad hoc meetings they wish to have with the Chief.
"We believe this two-way flow of information is essential
to the success of the Department," said Chief Harold L. Hurtt.
We agree that while overall crime is down, violent crime has increased,
particularly in some specific areas of the city. We also believe
HPD has initiated an effective strategy to combat it, working
diligently through the aggressive deployment of personnel and
resources through several overtime initiatives. It is noteworthy
that despite an increase in approximately 200,000 new residents
and experiencing a significant reduction in police staffing over
the last several years, the city has experienced a 6.4% decrease
in crime per capita through the first five months of this year.
Another measure of the Houston Police Department's success is
in the report by the Harris County District Attorney's office,
which processed a record number of
criminal charges for calendar year 2005. Additionally, the D.A.
reported that this year's rate exceeds last year's by approximately
10 percent for the first quarter of this calendar year.
Concerning criticisms of the Department's ability to transcend
traditional notions of police service, Chief Hurtt sought the
creation of a gang division, a gang murder squad, a cold case
squad, and established several captain positions to address issues
such as Homeland Security and night shift management of personnel.
The current overtime programs, coupled with the efforts that combine
other law enforcement agencies to address concurrent public safety
matters is evidence that the command staff is forward thinking
in its approach. The creation of the Police Foundation is also
an example of a creative response to financial challenges, thereby
reducing the demand placed upon the general fund budget, while
improving officer training and
As HPD meets its external challenges, the staff is dealing with
administrative issues affecting the infrastructure and technological
aspects of the department. Some changes have been made concerning
uniform grooming standards, and the Department disagrees that
efforts to maintain a professional image and increased officer
safety are trivial matters. In fact, such issues bear directly
on a police department's ability to build credibility with the
community it serves and pride within an organization.
"Make no mistake, the buck stops with me," said Chief
Hurtt in response to the union president's recent statement to
The Houston Police Department will continue
to focus on the safety of the public, and all police employees
have the appreciation of a command staff that recognizes their
contributions and sacrifices. The Department also recognizes and
is encouraged by the support shown by Mayor White and other elected
city leaders to increase staffing and funding for the Department.
information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at