Harold Hurtt, Houston’s police chief for the last year, believes he has made strides in restoring residents’ faith in their police force after serious brutality cases, the Houston Chronicle reports. Says Hurtt: “We’re holding people accountable for the decisions that they make.” He has been dealing with controversies that include a scandal-plagued crime lab, a new city towing policy, an initiative to use cameras to monitor red lights, and an emergency dispatch center that sometimes breaks down.
Even those who clash with Hurt are inclined to agree with him that the department is in the hands of a strong leader who knows what he wants and has the support from the mayor and the City Council to do it. Hurtt says his top priority has been to resolve the department’s problem with its “use of force” – especially the shooting of civilians. Houston spent $4 million to buy 3,700 Tasers and distributed them to patrol officers last month. After a psychiatric patient with a heart ailment was killed when he was shocked with a Taser in Houston, American Civil Liberties Union called for suspending Taser use, but Hurtt remains a steadfast proponent of the weapons.