Last year, HPD lost a $600,000 sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit.
This year is getting off to a bit of a rocky start in that regard, as the Chronicle's Harvey Rice reports on another potential retaliation case:
The Houston Police Department is investigating allegations that supervisors retaliated against an officer who exposed misconduct within the department, a police spokesman said.
The investigation comes less than a year after a federal jury awarded $600,000 in damages to an officer who made similar retaliation claims. That case led Chief Harold Hurtt to create new policies designed to prevent supervisors from retaliating in such instances.
The internal investigation was launched after officer Troy Burnett, a 22-year HPD veteran, told Hurtt in a letter that his supervisors had violated department policy by trying to learn his identity after he made an anonymous phone call to the Internal Affairs Division about a sergeant's conduct. Burnett wrote that his supervisors in the Traffic Division began punishing him after determining that he had made the call.
If the allegations are supported, the supervisors may have violated Hurtt's new policy designed to shield internal investigations from meddling by supervisors, Wright said. He said they could be fired if found to have violated the policy. Wright said Hurtt plans further reforms to ensure the confidentiality of whistle-blowers.
Maybe our intrepid police chief can come up with a good acronym to solve what seems to be an ongoing problem?