Chief Dennis Storemski’s main job is hardening Houston against terror attacks and natural disasters, but his office has also taken on the controversial role of film production, says the Houston Chronicle. Over four years, the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security has spent $540,000 to produce three short videos dealing with public safety scenarios. The latest production, a nearly six-minute video called “Run, Hide, Fight,” has gone viral with 800,000 hits on YouTube. An additional 25,000 people viewed it on the city of Houston’s website. Hundreds of cities, towns, and companies from across the U.S., as well as Germany, Japan and Australia, have contacted the mayor’s office for permission to use the video, Storemski said.
Using taxpayer money to make films, in this case grant funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, receives mixed reviews from local criminal experts. “Wow, that’s a lot of money,” said Clete Snell, chairman of the University of Houston-Downtown department of criminal justice. “Honestly if it were my budget I’d say no, I wouldn’t do it. The number of this kind of shootings are low, they are somewhat rare and a lot are copycats. In my mind, it’s a more important question to ask about the availability of guns in this country. In other countries, people don’t have access to guns like in the U.S. “