Thou shalt not question HPD (updated)

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KHOU-11’s Lee McGuire reports that some city councilmembers had the temerity to ask HPD for an accounting of previous funds that were allotted for recruitment advertising. This came about as HPD was requesting another $750,000 for the same thing:

Several councilmembers, including the budget chair, refused to back a request by the Houston Police Department for another $750,000 for recruitment advertising.

They said HPD has been unable or unwilling to provide information on how many recruits came on board because of the last round of advertising. Councilmember Green said he’s been “banned” from asking questions of the HPD public information office and instead has been told to go through the legal department.

Councilmember Anne Clutterbuck said she was shocked that she couldn’t find HPD job openings on common job search Web sites, while the Dallas Police Department came up all the time. She said when she asked HPD about it, all she got back was “rhetoric.”

A councilman has been banned from asking questions??? No HPD jobs are listed on job search websites???

That’s some fine leadership from Chief Hurtt.

UPDATE (8-28-2008) The Chron’s Carolyn Feibel adds more:

The two-year contract with Patriot Advertising is for Internet and print media.

A previous one-year $300,000 contract with the company expired in April.

HPD also has spent $335,000 on television commercials that aired from February through July.

Councilwoman Pam Holm said Wednesday that council members had asked HPD to track results when the first Patriot contract was approved more than a year ago.

“Anyone renewing a contract needs to examine the effectiveness of money already spent,” Holm said.

She added that she was surprised HPD did not produce any numbers from the first contract.

“How do we know if it’s effective?” Holm asked. “Basically, what they told us was they didn’t track it and they didn’t have any way to track it.”

Patriot Advertising’s website is here and includes a quote on the testimonial page from HPD Capt. Dwayne Ready:

Thanks for the fast work on this. Reacting to market pressures is an unending task, and I appreciate the responses we get when things are needed in short order. Kudos to your and your staff.
-Cpt. Ready – Houston Police Department

Ahhh, the unending task of market pressures. That must be what’s holding up the tracking report.


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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.