2019: Legislature, Prop B Fight and DWIs

As 2019 kicks off, so does the 86th Texas Legislature. Now if you were following last session closely, namely pension legislation, it can be a whirlwind experience with constant changes and updates. We do not anticipate nearly as much action this go round, but of course we will remain vigilant and closely monitor any legislation that impacts our working conditions as police officers and stand ready to fight anything harmful to us and our families.

We will have a team present in Austin and I will make frequent trips as well to insure our collective voices are heard. We will also be united with our partners in TLEC which includes TMPA and the Dallas Police Association to pool our collective resources and unite against bad legislation. As you are well aware by now, it is easier to defeat a bill than to pass one and with our partners and relationships forged over decades with lawmakers we are confident in our ability to defend law enforcement here in Houston and across Texas.

The HPOU will be sending out periodic updates with eblast/push notification throughout the session to keep you informed of the legislation we are keeping an eye on. If you do not receive our emails, please make sure that we have a good email for you by contacting Lisa at 832-200-3432 or you can download our Mobile APP from the App Store or Google Play for our push notifications.

 

Prop B

The legal battle concerning Prop B continues. To bring you up to speed Judge Hawkins originally granted a temporary restraining order in our favor for 14 days. At the conclusion of the 14 days a hearing was held to determine if a temporary injunction would be granted, which means the City would not have to pay while the trial proceeds.

At that hearing Judge Wilson denied the temporary injunction, which means the City will have to pay (unless they appeal) while we move forward to trial. A number of people were concerned that the judge did not grant the temporary injunction but keep in mind this will not be the same judge that hears the actual case.

Of course, we will keep you posted on all legal proceedings as we move forward. At which time the City begins paying, they have already stated it will take them several weeks to have logistics in place, cutbacks and layoffs within the Houston Fire Department will begin.

Keep in mind independent studies have shown that we are understaffed by approximately 1,500 officers and that HFD is overstaffed by approximately 800 firefighters. We have made our position clear throughout the lead up to the election and the subsequent passage, we cannot afford to lose a single police officer or cadet currently in the academy to pay for Prop B, nor will we stand by and allow that to happen.

 

Officer Daily and Officer Reid

On Christmas Eve morning just past midnight Officer Daily and Reid were struck by a drunk driver. The impact caused their patrol vehicle to flip and catch fire. Officer Daily was severely burned and after being rushed to a nearby hospital had to be Lifeflighted to Memorial Hermann.

At the time of this article he has already been through three surgeries and scheduled for a fourth. He has a long/complicated recovery ahead and will be in the hospital for the months ahead. He has a very strong, supportive family and the full backing of his Blue Family.

Fortunately, Officer Reid was released from the hospital Christmas night and was able to have Christmas dinner with this family. He still has a long recovery before coming back to work. I am asking you all to keep them and their families in your prayers during this difficult time. If anyone you know would like to donate to assist in their recovery, they can go to assisttheofficer.com to make a donation.

I am also going to ask you to do something else. We must do everything in our power to stop the epidemic of DWIs in Houston. We are the ones being hit, we are the ones being sent to the hospital, we are the ones dying, we are the ones that are most vulnerable on the roadways and we need to realize that this problem is not going away.

We must be vigilant in everyone we talk to that it has never been easier to get a ride home: Uber, Lyft, Cab, designated driver, whatever it takes! But do not drink and drive. We must talk to our family members, friends, co-workers and make them understand that when you drive drunk you are risking your own life and you are risking the lives of our Blue Family, first responders and innocent citizens. It needs to stop.

As always, be safe out there and if you need anything I am only a phone call away, text (832-283-9492), or you can also reach me at the following: email (jgamaldi@hpou.org), message on Facebook, DM on twitter (@JoeGamaldi).