Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt is considering job options with other police agencies, the Houston Chronicle reports. Hurtt, 62, was appointed by Mayor Bill White, who steps down at the end of this year after serving the maximum of three two-year terms. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Hurtt is the only black candidate on a list of a dozen or so semifinalists for that city's top police post. San Francisco chief Heather Fong is resigning after five years. She was the first woman in the job.
White appointed Hurtt in 2004, recruiting him from the top post in Phoenix. White's decision to bring in an outsider came after a string of embarrassments for the police department, including police shootings of unarmed teenagers, the closure of its crime lab amid charges of incompetence, and a botched mass arrest in a parking lot that resulted in lawsuits against the city. During Hurtt's tenure, the police ranks have grown to about 5,200 officers. Hurtt focused on recruitment after a wave of retirements reduced the ranks under 4,800. The crime rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1980, even taking into account the city's population growth. “That's what I was here to do, help lower the crime,” Hurtt said. “We've made great strides in that.”