Since taking command of the Houston Police Department nearly three years ago, Chief Charles McClelland has fired 63 officers and disciplined almost 1,300 for less serious infractions, reports the Houston Chronicle. Of those disciplined, McClelland suspended 464 without pay and reprimanded more than 820, records show. The numbers of firings on the 5,200-member force is slightly higher than that of predecessor Harold Hurtt, who terminated 58 in his last three years on the job while suspending and reprimanding roughly the same number as the current chief.
Houston police union officials, who remain strongly supportive of McClelland’s administration, are nevertheless critical of some of the chief’s actions including two highly publicized cases in which they believe the chief’s punishment of some officers involved was unwarranted. “Overall, we believe that he has been fair when it comes to discipline,” said Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union. “However, we have disagreed with him on some disciplines and have taken it to an arbitrator when we disagree.” Hunt expressed surprise that McClelland fired more officers than Hurtt, whom he and others considered unreasonably strict in his punishments.