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Another Mayoral wants Hurtt out

It’s just Roy, so it’s not like this materially affects Chief Harold Hurtt’s status, but still.

“We want police officers to stay,” said Harris County Department of Education Trustee Roy Morales, one of five candidates who talked about crime and other issues at a Houston West Chamber of Commerce forum Tuesday. “They’re dissatisfied right now because of Chief Hurtt and his policies. Under my administration, we will look for a new police chief. We will have a new strategy that will allow these police officers to be part of the process. We will have the strategy of prevention and deterrence rather than reaction.”

Morales’ call for Hurtt’s ouster echoed one by City Controller Annise Parker at an event earlier this month when she said Hurtt has been “ineffective.”

“I don’t believe he’s really ever integrated himself into the larger Houston community,” Parker said in an interview. “Public safety is so essential to everything we do, and we have to have a chief that has his fingers on the pulse of the city.”

Parker said the next chief should come from within the Houston Police Department.

We heard about Parker’s opinion of Chief Hurtt last week. I don’t know what will happen to Chief Hurtt after the election, but I do know he won’t be headed to San Francisco, at least not for a job.

Although the other candidates have stopped short of calling for Hurtt’s departure, all have made public safety a focal point of their campaigns, often calling for similar reforms: more coordination among police agencies and a better use of technology.

On Monday, City Councilman Peter Brown unveiled a proposal that would return the city’s crime-fighting strategy to many of the neighborhood-oriented tactics put in place by former police chief and Mayor Lee Brown. Former City Attorney Gene Locke also has called for such strategies, which often involve developing community ties and neighborhood-tailored strategies for preventing crime.

I received a press release from Council Member Brown about this, which I’ve reproduced beneath the fold. I understand that Chief Hurtt isn’t particularly popular, but given that Houston’s crime rate is down during his tenure, I have to wonder about the efficacy of changing tactics back to what they were before he arrived. Obviously, this is going to be a function of what the next police chief wants to do, which I suppose is a signal that neither Brown nor Locke intends to keep Hurtt around, either. I’d like a fuller understanding of where the candidates think Chief Hurtt has fallen short, and where they think HPD has done so. Anyway, you can see more from Brown here, from Locke here, from Parker here, and from Morales here.


At-Large City Councilman and Candidate for Mayor Peter Brown today unveiled his plan to cut crime in Houston with a tougher, smarter approach. At a roundtable with law enforcement experts, Brown discussed the challenges Houston faces and unveiled his plan to fight crime as Mayor: “Get Tough, Get Smart: A Plan to Cut Crime In Houston.”

“Crime is one of the greatest challenges Houston faces and we’re going to have to make our city safer if we’re going to continue to be an attractive place to start a family or start a business,” said Brown. “Keeping our citizens safe is our most basic responsibility, and it’s got to be our first priority.” Councilman Brown’s plan has three main elements:

    Neighborhood Policing: Officers Where They’re Needed, When They’re Needed. Peter Brown’s plan would get police officers out from behind their desks and into the community, putting them back on the beat so they’ll be plugged into the neighborhoods they work in. He’d use precinct-based policing to help officers tailor their crime-fighting strategies to the neighborhoods they serve, and make them more responsive and accountable.

    A Coordinated Response: Connecting our Crime-Fighters. Peter Brown’s plan will bring together law-enforcement from the different jurisdictions within the City of Houston to help them communicate better and coordinate their resources and responses. Whether it’s responding to a hurricane evacuation, a high-speed chase or a shootout, he believes our law enforcement officers need to be better connected.

    The Tools They Need: Applying the Best Technologies to Keep Houston Safe. Peter Brown wants to make Houston safer by making investments in the most effective technologies and best policing practices, including expanding the city’s investment in its new Real-Time Crime Center, as well as providing other state-of-the-art tools to meet the needs of our law enforcement officers.

Councilman Brown’s proposals will make for a more responsive, efficient, and effective approach to policing in Houston. “I want a Houston where workers are secure in their businesses, and families are secure in their homes,” said Brown. “I’m running for Mayor because we’ve got to face this challenge head-on. I won’t rest until every neighborhood in Houston is one where we’d all feel safe raising a family or opening a business.”

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One Comment

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    You really need to watch the “just Roy” comments because in reality “just Roy” may garner enough of the Hispanic vote and the Republican vote, which may override the “Democratic only” and African-American vote, to put him in the mayor’s office.

    I know, I know. Hispanics will not vote for a Republican even if he’s an Hispanic. Well, you know, that may be true. And may not be true. It may not be true if they cannot stand the Democratic candidates. Or unless they just simply want to see an Hispanic in the mayor’s office.

    As for Republicans enough Republicans may turn out and decide not to vote for the Democrat most likely to serve them best.

    I know, I know. Roy’s a joke. Not really qualified. Well, you know, you need to take a good look at what’s in the mayor’s office right now. Quite a few are taking a good look and really have tired of the “City Hall for Sale” mayors. And despite all the supposed good things the reality is Bill White has pulled a few strings too many in the past two years for too many people’s tastes. Quite honestly some of the string-pulling has made Chuck Rosenthal look like Dudley Do-Right in comparison. Bill White needs to just register as a lobbyist and be content with the millions that will pour into his private coffers. The reality is he has been nothing more than a lobbyist since he first took the oath of office. Quite a few are wondering if he will endorse anyone simply because it may prove to be the proverbial “kiss of death.”

    Roy may be “just Roy” to you and me and quite a few others. But not necessarily to everyone else. None of the candidates holds a “royal flush” and Roy is actually the “wild card” with the voters.