Marticiuc out, Blankinship in at HPOU

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Hans Marticiuc is out and Gary Blankinship is the new president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, according to results posted on the organization’s website.

KHOU-11’s Jeff McShan has more on the new HPOU president:

Blankinship said while the critical manpower shortage is his No. 1 concern, improving the officers’ ability to call for help is on his agenda too.

HPD doesn’t have enough working radios, and there hasn’t been a priority to buy more because it’s being forced to switch to a digital system by 2012 — a system that could costs more than $100 million.

“We’re trying to get officers all assigned a radio,” Blankinship said. “This situation that happened over the weekend: That possibly might not have happened if the officer had a handheld radio with him.”

Officer Hill was shot while working off-duty, an extra job, at the apartment complex where he lives.

Blankinship said working or not, all officers should have a handheld radio available.

“And we would like to move forward for all officers being assigned because they are subject to being called to duty at anytime even off duty,” he said.

Perhaps Blankinship’s toughest task will be the new HPD contract with the city, which runs out in 2010. The contract will determine officer salaries and benefits.

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