Ada Edwards: What HPD manpower shortage?
KTRH-740 posts a news report on HPD's manpower shortage:
Houston's population increased by more than 100,000 new residents last year, but nearly 625 police officers quit the force.
Police Chief Harold Hurtt says the city needs to commit to a hiring program. Hurtt notes the number of officers per square mile in Houston is less than eight, while the country's next biggest city — Chicago — has nearly 60.
Hurtt says if the police department doubles the number of classes they're holding now — from five to 10 a year — the city could reach the national average by 2008.
Even with overtime programs, response times for lower priority calls are still increasing.
The Chronicle's Alexis Grant reports today that HPD and the police officer's union have worked out an agreement that will give HPD more flexibility to recruit experienced officers from elsewhere in response to the manpower shortage. The story concludes with this criticism from Councilmember Ada Edwards:
Councilwoman Ada Edwards said the city needs to fund schools and create jobs to decrease crime before putting more officers on the streets.
"I am not interested in developing a police state here," she said.
Laurence Simon's comment on another topic seems to fit here as well:
Welcome to Houston: We're Off Our Meds!