Where do we go from here?

As most know, the HPOU has been very vocal over the last few months regarding the command staff and specifically the former Chief.  This all stemmed from the infamous SL code that most officers were not even aware of.  If you did not work investigations, then you more than likely had not heard of it.

I attended a City Council meeting towards the end of 2014 where a presentation was provided by then Chief McCleland regarding the status of a report completed by Justex. The 2014 report provided and overview of the manpower across the city and included information about investigating cases.  I do not recall the specifics regarding investigated cases in the report but that there will be a number of cases that will have to go unworked due to manpower.  However, I distinctly recall Ray Hunt speaking about his concerns and the discussion centered around manpower and the inability to investigate all cases. At the end of the presentation and discussion by city council, and Council member Kubosh stating, “I think we have been put on notice.” At the end of the presentation, City Council did not increase staffing to address the challenges presented.

All of city Council was aware that the department was down over 1500 officers, and this was in 2014. Here we are 10 years later, and the same problems persist.  I hope to work with the Mayor and Council to do a few things that will help the Houston Police Department be the best department in the nation once again.  On the priority list of times to consider are obviously hiring and retaining good officers to increase the overall number of officers on the department.  Second is to work on the morale of the rank and file within the department.  For the last few years, we have seen our leaders be afraid to make decisions because they would be criticized or worse, demoted, for taking a stand.  This has to end!

We must entrust our Commanders to run their division as they see fit (within reason) and then hold them accountable for crime in their area, or the investigations under their command. We must also embolden our patrol officers to make decisions without having to call a supervisor to every event.  If a supervisor has to make every decision, then let’s just promote all officers to Sergeant and move on.    We need to find a way to motivate and encourage officers, not manage them by IAD.

Our goal as an organization must be to empower our members to be the best that they can be.  This must include better training, understandable policies, and a common sense approached to discipline. Obviously, we do not have a timeline for a new chief, but our hope is that whomever our next chief may be, that he listened to the rank and file, not just those yes people that they tend to surround themselves with.

NOTE:

The concluded investigation into the SL code will be out shortly.  Our goal is to make sure that no one is disciplined for abiding by the SOP that was developed and signed off by their respective AC or EAC.

Published June 13, 2024

Author Doug Griffith, HPOU President