As I sit to write my first “President’s Column” for the Badge and Gun, I am overwhelmed by a sense of honor and gratitude. Let me say that being elected president of the Houston Police Officers Union by what I regard as the greatest police officers in the world (we keep proving it over and over again) is an honor I will hold with me for the rest of my life.
And for that I thank you. The trust and faith you have put in me will never be forgotten and I assure you, I will work as hard as I can to keep that trust and reward that faith.
I would like to thank my wife, Alexa, who is possibly the most understanding wife in existence for always supporting me, despite the late phone calls/texts/emails/Facebook posts/tweets, last minute changes to plans and general chaos that this job can bring to our family life.
I would like to thank Ray Hunt for his incredible mentorship over the last six years. It is not common place for a Union leader to groom the next generation. However, Ray has graciously taught me everything he knows, yet still allowed me to find my own way and style of being a Union leader.
For your mentorship Ray, I will be eternally grateful.
My final thank you goes to the HPOU Board/Staff. Your commitment and dedication to the membership is second to none. Without your hard work we would not be where we are now as an organization and our future would not be as bright.
With the overwhelming passage of Props A and B, two very pressing issues have been resolved. Our pensions are on secure footing and the HPD fleet will be getting a large scale overhaul over the next couple years. The focus of my term will be spent on three major issues that still remain:
- Negligent bond amounts and sentencing of the predators that prey on our community
- Successful negotiation of our next contract
It is no secret we are in the worst manpower crisis that HPD has ever seen. It is not fair to each of you who puts his/her life on the line for this community every day and I will be rolling out a plan in January to keep the mayor and City Council on the path to increasing our department’s manpower. We must achieve staffing levels befitting what will be the third largest city in America.
Most of you have already seen some of the interviews or my posts on social media intended to raise the awareness of the public to just how broken the Harris County criminal justice system has become. I will continue to beat the drum about insanely low bond amounts and even more ludicrous sentencing that we have all been witnessing.
By raising the awareness of the voters, they can make educated decisions about the judges they want sitting on the bench. Keep an eye out for our judicial endorsements as we announce them. This way you can educate you friends, family and neighbors about who they should be voting for.
We will be entering contract negotiations with the City sometime in early 2018. With this in mind, the HPOU will be sending out a survey to get a consensus of the direction the membership would like us to take, as well as any new ideas you would like to contribute. Obviously pay raises are at the top of our priority list as we will continue to negotiate for raises that keep us competitive with our market counterparts, always with an eye toward closing the gap with Austin.
I believe the strength of any Union is how informed the membership is. That is achieved through consistent and accurate communications. Although I will continue to write monthly columns for the Badge and Gun, if you are looking for real time updates about what is going on with and around the HPOU, please “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on twitter @hpoutx.
For those of you who shy away from social media please download our mobile App (App store/google play), or contact our office and get added to our eblast list. You can be as informed as you want to be!
Thank you all once again for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and as always: Be Safe Out There!