Developing a Community Policing Model
We believe Houston is safest when citizens and law enforcement officers work together. By developing a comprehensive community policing model at both the city and county levels, we will increase trust and transparency between Houstonians and our hard working men and women in uniform.
CITIZEN'S REVIEW BOARD (CRB)
Houston's current CRB was enacted in 2011 by Mayor Annise Parker, and while it's a good foundation, the policy must be expanded. (Click Here to Read Executive Order) At the present, our CRB doesn't meet regularly, and when it does, it doesn't review all internal affairs complaints. We believe we can save tax-payer dollars by strengthening the oversight of the CRB to include all complaints (anonymous) and shortening the term limits members serve.
NEIGHBORHOOD COP INCENTIVE PAY
Read the following memo from Council Member Bradford:
One major Community Policing tenet is establishing positive interaction between neighborhood residents and police officers. Today, too many of our officers do not live in Houston neighborhoods where they are most needed to build relationships. Therefore, our police officers and citizens are not engaging in much needed contact, communication, building of trust and information exchange.
There is a nexus between an officer's cultural competence and the officer's assessment of threats. Police officers must understand neighborhood residents in order to better assess perceived risks and threats to the officer's life. There is a great disconnect between many neighborhood residents and police officers. In order to assist in establishing greater citizens and police contact, positive interaction, citizens' satisfaction and improve overall community safety, I am recommending and requesting an implementation of the following:
The City of Houston shall designate a specified number of slots in various zip codes, as determined by the City of Houston, to be offered to HPD officers as their place of domicile.
Each volunteering officer selected for such slot will be entitled to annual incentive pay of $10,000.00 above their regular salary.
The officer must establish his/her legal domicile and actually reside at the specified location for a minimum of five (5) years.
We are not proponents of requiring police officers to live any particular place. However, we are supportive of incentives and rewards to induce desirable behavior. We must do more to advance Community Policing to full implementation. The citizen protests that we are experiencing across America, and in Houston, represent an outcry for more substantive input in police operations and real accountability mechanisms embedded in a process developed jointly by community stakeholders and police officials.
INFORMAL COMPLAINT LINE
n order to inquire about police policy or make an informal complaint, a citizen must come up to HPD headquarters, write a formal statement and have it notarized. For simple, minor complaints, the current process can be time consuming, and therefore, expensive. During a recent Internal Affairs complaint made to HPD, it took more than an hour of the sergeant's time to interview the citizen complainant. At $77,000 per year (HPD Sergeant Salary) that one complaint cost $45. The complaint being made could've easily been resolved with an informal complaint line where citizens call a dedicated Internal Affairs line if it could be solved at that level.
Fort Worth Police Department has a different setup (see here) where a dedicated complaint line sorts and delegates further up the chain if deemed necessary.