Houston Mayor Annise Parker chose Charles McClelland to become the city’s top cop, with the mission of making a difference in a city facing a huge budget shortfall, the Houston Chronicle reports. McClelland, 55, took over as acting chief when Harold Hurtt, resigned in late December. Parker’s campaign last year focused in part on restructuring policing in Houston under a new chief she pledged to find within the department.
Parker personally interviewed every member of department’s command staff, members of the Houston Police Officers Union, and “community members,” as well as the four finalists selected by the Police Executive Research Forum before choosing McClelland. Her campaign promises included using a decentralized policing model focused on the community, and forging agreements with other area law enforcement agencies to encourage greater cooperation. “We can do a better job with the resources we have,” said McClelland, adding the department should expand any technology it uses, including red light cameras systems that can be employed as a “force multiplier.” He said the department will place more officers on the street through the graduation of two cadet classes this fiscal year, and seemed confident the nearly 2,000 officers eligible to retire will remain on the job.