Archive for June 10th, 2014

HPD Again

HPD is getting some more front page run in today’s Chron. Oh brother!

This time it is about the cases that were handled by the detective that was fired. What a pain! Here is part of what my pal Bill King put out this past Sunday on the HPD mess:

But even with the huge budget increases and a declining caseload, HPD has a pretty miserable record of solving cases. Last year it only solved 37 percent of all violent crimes. That percentage has declined each of the past four years.

My particular pet peeve: HPD solved only 1,800 of 20,000 burglaries reported ast year, a clearance rate of 7.5 percent. For as far back as I have records, HPD has never solved more than 8 percent of burglaries.

In all categories of major crimes, HPD cleared just over 20,000 cases last year, the lowest total in six years. That means that HPD solved fewer than four major crimes for each police officer on its staff last year.

The Chronicle’s editorial board has called for an independent management review of HPD, a call I heartily endorse. Not surprisingly, HPD opposes the idea.

Here are a few questions that an independent review might consider.

Do we need 269 people on the police chief’s command staff and another 153 in the “Chief of Staff” division? The chief’s command staff is up from 185 in 2009; there was no Chief of Staff division in the 2009 budget.

How is that we have gone from 1,150 people in the Investigative Division in 2009 to nearly 1,500 this year, but are solving fewer crimes?

Do we need six full-time staff psychologists? In 2008, we only had three.

Do we need a lieutenant, five sergeants and 26 police officers assigned to a mounted patrol? Vet bills and feed cost $170,000 last year. I would rather see those 32 officers working on the burglary backlog.

Should members of the civilian staff be allowed to skip their coffee breaks to get paid through lunch, when that practice is prohibited in other city departments for obvious reasons?

Why out of our 5,200 officers do we only have about 4,100 working in the patrol and investigative divisions? Could the jobs the other 1,100 are doing be done by civilians at a lower compensation level and get some of these officers back on the street? HPD’s report identified a number of opportunities in this area.

A comprehensive management review would pose these and many other questions. Reviews like this are commonplace in business and a good management practice generally.

Before the taxpayers pony up one more dime for HPD, we are entitled to know that money we have been doling out is being well-spent.

I am thinking that HPD would win the worst run department award over at City Hall if a vote was taken among Chron readers.

The Chron has a piece about the case for ‘Stro pitcher Dallas Keuchel making the AL All Star Team. Name the last ‘Stro pitcher to be an All Star?

Move over 713, 281, and 832. 346 is our newest area code for the H-Town area. My landline is a 713 and my cell is a 281. I don’t know if I could handle a 346.

Speaking of City Hall, I am thinking that the Yellow Cab, Uber, and Lyft folks will all line-up to speak today before the vote tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Roy O. of course made the NL All Star team way back in 2007.

I have never been to Round Rock to see the Express. Same goes for Whataburger to see the Hooks. Heck, the last time I went to see two minor league teams play was back in the days of the Houston Buffs. Tonight at The Yard the Hooks take on the Missions. I may just drop by.

The ‘Stros won last night and we are now 29-36. Not bad at all if you ask me.

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