I’m sure that it is easy for those in Command to look at body camera videos and determine what you should be doing and saying in the streets, but we all know the realities of a high-stress scene.
Over the last few years, I have sat on the Administrative Discipline Committee fighting for officers over discipline recommendations. With the introduction of the Body Worn Camera systems there was a quick downturn on discipline cases as the cameras were somewhat of a shock to our system.
The department found that officers were much more professional when on camera. Over the years I have noticed that officers curse quite a bit on video, which has not been a problem when dealing with violent suspects.
As we all know, over the last year there has been a lot more scrutiny over officers’ actions, especially on video. We are starting to see an issue with officers and their language on camera.
We all understand that dealing with a violent suspect can sometimes require colorful language. I am the last person to comment when it comes to flowery language on a scene. But once that scene is under control, we must start watching what we say.
The banter back and forth with a suspect must stop. With the current events it is more important than ever that we show our professionalism while dealing with the public. I believe that Chief Finner understands that language can be rough in the heat of battle, but he is also under a lot of pressure to change the culture and improve the way we deal with the public.
Going forward it will be important that we do our best to curb out language while on a scene, especially after the cuffs are on a suspect. I am confident that the department will be disciplining people in the future for unnecessary cursing or foul language toward a suspect or citizen.
I believe that we have the most professional organization in the nation and know that we will rise to the occasion and adjust to what the citizens of Houston expect from us.