Nixon suspended; Marticiuc comments on chase policy

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KTRH-740 is reporting that HPD officer Tom Nixon, who was assigned to desk duty after his comments about HPD’s chase policy, has been suspended without pay for 15 days.

The suspension is not related to the chase-policy comments, which remain under investigation. Rather, KTRH reports, the suspension is related to commentary in a magazine column written by Nixon.

In related news, Hans Marticiuc (president of the Houston Police Officers Union) wrote an op-ed for the Chronicle today. Marticiuc argues that HPD needs to consider empowering officers involved in pursuits with one more option:

The issue now is police policy. HPD’s current vehicle pursuit policy is relatively sound, balancing the ability of officers to do their job against the need to protect the public. However, any policy that allows a pursuit to continue for 90 minutes in a congested urban environment is unacceptable and dangerous to the public as well as the officers.

If HPD management had voiced the same concerns we in the police union leadership have, and advised the public that current policy will, at the very least, need review, we would not have had the media circus we did.

As officers, we see the need for an additional option. Ideally, “pitting” a vehicle early in pursuit when the opportunity arises makes more sense then a prolonged vehicle chase. (Pitting is a technique in which the patrol vehicle bumps the rear end of the suspect vehicle, causing the vehicle to spin and stop. The proper opportunity to use this technique takes into consideration speed, location and other traffic conditions and variables that can determine whether pitting is a sound decision or not.)

It’s hard to object to that. Perhaps Nixon wouldn’t have been assigned to a desk if he had written an op-ed for the Chronicle.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX