Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt is resigning at the end of the year in advance of being fired by Mayor-elect Annise Parker, reports the Houston Chronicle. Hurtt, 63, has been chief for almost six years. Parker had said she intended to replace him with someone from within the department. She has said she planned to “shake up” HPD, replacing what she called outmoded ways of thinking with an increased reliance on technology and decentralizing police work.
Parker said that if the cannot find a suitable candidate in the department, she will look outside. Still, “it sends a message when you bring somebody in from the outside that you have a department in trouble – and I don’t think we have a department in trouble. I think we have some challenges because of understaffing and other things, and I just want to take it in a new direction.” Hurtt’s tenure was marked by a succession of public safety crises, beginning with a 25 percent hike in homicides in 2005 after an influx of Hurricane Katrina evacuees into the city.