Back in 2007, both KPRC-2 and KHOU-11 alerted viewers to MayorWhiteChiefHurtt’s interest in unmanned aerial drones. KPRC’s Stephen Dean even found the top-secret location in Waller County where HPD and Department of Homeland Security officials were doing a little test-flying. HPD’s hapless Assistant Chief Martha Montalvo was so rattled by Dean’s filming of the testing that she stammered an explanation:
“I wasn’t ready to publicize this,” Executive Assistant Police Chief Martha Montalvo said. She and other department leaders hastily organized a news conference when they realized Local 2 Investigates had captured the entire event on camera.
“We still haven’t even decided how we were going to go forward on this task, so it seemed premature to me to announce this to the media,” Montalvo said. “But since, obviously, the media found out about it, then I don’t see any reason why just not go forward with what we have so far.”
Today we learn in a Washington Post story that KPRC’s story effectively scuttled MayorWhiteChiefHurtt’s drone dreams:
When KPRC-TV in Houston, which is owned by The Washington Post Co., discovered a secret drone air show for dozens of officers at a remote location 70 miles from Houston, police officials were forced to call a hasty news conference to explain their interest in the technology.
A senior officer in Houston then mentioned to reporters that drones might ultimately be used for recording traffic violations.
Federal officials said support for the program crashed.
Excellent work, KPRC and Stephen Dean! Chief Hurtt’s been gone how long, and still we are discovering the depths of his leadership.