HOUSTON – Critics have long complained that Houston’s citizens’ review board, tasked with making recommendations on police hiring, training and discipline, is a paper tiger with no real power.
Five Houston City Council members sent a letter to Mayor Sylvester Turner Monday with suggested police policy reforms.
The letter, signed by Martha Castex-Tatum, Vice Mayor Pro Tem, Edward Pollard, Esq., Houston City Council Member, Tiffany D. Thomas, Houston City Council Member, Jerry Davis, Houston City Council Member, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Houston City Council Member -- calls for an overhaul of the Independent Police Oversight Board, among other measures including the creation of an online complaint system for interactions with police.
One local example, the January 2019 Harding street raid that left two innocent homeowners dead, and led to felony indictments against six police officers.
The council members’ letter makes 25 recommendations, including mandatory discipline for officers making racial or culturally insensitive public comments, and random psychological exams.
The letter also suggests that reforms address cell phone use around police, undercover officer conduct, Cite and Release legislation, incentive pay for residency, recruitment, video recordings of officer-involved shooting scenes, random psychological exams, a college degree requirement, social media guidelines, protest guidelines, body camera footage guidelines, and guidelines for the chief to appear before the committee.