Wall: Tie goes to the chief?

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The following is a letter from J.W. Wall III. An abridged version originally appeared in the Chronicle. Feel free to submit topical posts/essays for our consideration to bloghouston@gmail.com. As with our usual blog posts, the views expressed are those of the author.


by J.W. Wall III

HPD Chief Charles McClelland, struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk downtown on his way to work. Fortunately the pedestrian only suffered minor injuries, and was treated and released from St. Joseph’s, BUT THE CHIEF WASN’T TICKETED!

Chief Charles McClelland (image courtesy HPD)
HPD Chief Charles McClelland (image courtesy HPD)

It’s obvious to anyone that has passed his or her driver’s license exam that Chief McClelland was at fault. The Chief himself said “I had a green light, and obviously he had a green light to walk across the street, and for whatever reason I didn’t see him.”

Huge opportunity to show leadership from the Chief squandered. Instead of saying “I was at fault” or “I am sorry and I should bear the consequences” like you’d expect from any teenager, the Chief says “it’s not a good way to start a day”. Think of how the poor pedestrian felt about the start of his day!

No one would seriously argue that the Chief McClelland should lose his job over this incident, but it certainly makes one wonder about his leadership. How can we expect exemplary behavior from Houston’s Finest if their leader is so bereft of judgment in taking on responsibility for his own actions?

It is no wonder that unlike most other civilized cities, Houston pedestrians often break into a run to get across intersections. With impunity for HPD’s leadership, and callous indifference from the city regarding pedestrian rights-of-way, who could expect anything else?

Supposedly the accident is now “under investigation.” One wonders who is doing the investigating – one of McClelland’s deputies?

Man up Chief, take the ticket, pay the fine. Set the example.

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J.W. Wall III is a frequent commenter on policing and police issues.