HOW REFRESHING AND ENCOURAGING it was at Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference promoting his Back the Blue pledge to be held out as a good example of policing in the highly stressful year of 2020.
The governor, as well as U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen took the stage Nov. 28 in the Breck Porter Building to identify elected officials and other pro-police citizens to back police departments instead of defunding their budgets.
One bad example was cited – the Austin Police Department, which has seen a decrease in its budget resulting from the questionable judgement of Austin City Council members. As a result, crime waves will prevail much like a Category 4 hurricane in our capital city. Abbott was preaching to the choir when he said the state will have to take extraordinary measures to help police the city where the Texas Legislature will be meeting several months from now.
Standing behind the governor and three of Texas’ most powerful elected officials were about 15 incumbents or candidates for the state Senate and House of Representatives, as well as representatives of numerous law enforcement organizations. Each of them readily signed the pledge, which already contained more than 125,000 signatures gathered by Abbott on his special pro-policing tour. Houston was the second stop.
And what an example Houston and the Houston Police Department offered the governor, the senator, the lieutenant governor and the House speaker. Each of them took turns touting the work of Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston City Council. As demonstrators called for defunding the police in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the mayor and council unanimously approved an HPD budget increase and funding for five cadet classes. More recently the council approved overtime to handle any crisis that might arise stemming from the Nov. 3 election.
What a marked contrast to what has been happening in many other American cities. How gratifying it is to see the Bayou City being recognized as a prime example of what every police department should be doing. And this is one more reason why the HPD and their families can be thankful.
From your HPOU family and the Badge & Gun Editorial staff, happy Thanksgiving!