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Parker’s police plan in practice

I think we’re all reasonably familiar with the basics of Mayor-Elect Parker’s plan for the police force, which includes more and better coordination between the various local law enforcement agencies. This story, which perhaps ought to have been run before the election, analyzes some of the practicalities of the plan. There’s some good discussion in there, and I recommend you read the whole story, but for here I just want to note this one bit:

“It’s easy to say, but extraordinarily complicated if you try to do it. There are layers of issues,” said Professor Larry Hoover, director of the Police Resource Center at Sam Houston State University. “There are some very practical reasons why it isn’t done.”

Hoover said in addition to taking focus away from other police agencies’ core missions, the coordination of evidence when different agencies are involved in the same case could complicate prosecutions.

“Those special police agencies exist for a reason,“ he said. “They’re focused on those things for a reason, and they’re paid by another political entity to perform a special law enforcement function, and are not paid by the city of Houston.”

It may be that these other agencies’ funds do not come from the city of Houston budget, but they sure as heck do come in part from city of Houston tax dollars. And as noted before, as is the case with things like roads and parks, the city doesn’t get back nearly as much as it contributes. The good news is that it seems that once the issue of radio interoperability is resolved in 2012, there will be a lot more inter-agency coordination. As long as all the agencies in question are amenable to working with each other, which was something I discussed during the campaign, we all ought to get something out of this.

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