HPD's manpower shortage, leadership continue to raise concerns

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KTRK-13 ran a story earlier that’s become all too familiar. As Kevin Quinn reported, a Houston man was involved in a non-injury traffic accident and called 911. He suspected the other driver was intoxicated, which he reported. He and the other driver waited for a cop for two hours. Additional calls were made to 911. Finally, he gave up on an officer showing up, and informed 911 that he would file a report with a substation. The driver suspected of being intoxicated drove away.

Here is HPD’s response to KTRK:


HPD says it does take drunk driving very seriously, but these 911 calls were considered a lower priority because no one was hurt in this accident and the man who was allegedly driving drunk was not causing any sort of disturbance. They say simply that other calls with higher priorities were handled first.

Police say they can only cover so much ground these days. They note again that they are short staffed by about 600 officers.

For all their talk of public safety, MayorWhiteChiefHurtt seem to deliver much more in the way of excuses.

Meanwhile, KRIV-26’s Isiah Carey reproduces an email from a police officer describing his experience in the immediate aftermath of Chief Hurtt’s now-suspended chase policy. We can expect more stories like this when Chief Hurtt’s no-chase policy is eventually reinstated (and if Mayor White’s praise of Chief Hurtt yesterday is any indicator, the policy will eventually be reinstated).

HPD is short on numbers, and the bad guys increasingly seem to perceive MayorWhiteChiefHurtt as soft on crime. That’s really not a very good mix.

UPDATE: KTRH-740’s Chris Baker has this to say on his page on KTRH:

I watched CH13’s report and at first I shook my head then I got mad and now I am furious.

I wonder how many arrest for drunk driving this guy has? Is it none? Is it three? We will never know because there were no cops available to arrest him. How embarrassing for a city of this size to not be able to investigate a drunk driver for two hours.

It is embarrassing.

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