Sources say the city of Houston legal department is looking at the possibility of bringing the METRO police officers into the Houston Police Department.
The Houston Police Officers Union confirmed that the city of Houston is exploring the possibility of bringing METRO officers into HPD.
"From first blush, we're not opposed to anything that's going to save the taxpayer money and still keep the HPD as a first-rate department," said HPOU President Ray Hunt.
Hunt confirmed that Mayor Annise Parker's office asked the HPOU if it would support the move.
"There's redundant systems right now between METRO and HPD. Different dispatch systems. Different command staffs. Different internal affairs. All of those things that could be under one system and save the taxpayer money," said Hunt.
METRO is a regional transportation authority. However, Houston's mayor appoints five of nine seats on the board and helps decided the direction of the authority.
Hunt said this move is not the answer to under-staffing of the Houston Police Department.
"This is not going to be adding 250 officers to HPD. We are severely understaffed as we have said over and over. This is simply going to be managing those things that METRO's already doing. We envision this as a METRO division of HPD," Hunt said.
The president of the Houston METRO Police Union, Robert Lozano, said his members support the move. He said it would be cost-effective and would give taxpayers "more bang for their buck" by eliminating redundancy between the two departments.
METRO and Parker's office have not responded to Local 2's requests for comment on the possible merger.