NO BIG-CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN GO through any significant sustained period of time without a police-related controversy of one kind or another.
As we know from recent experiences, the Houston Police Department is no exception to this ever-present condition. In times like these the Badge & Gun must stress the strong community support each and every HPD officer should be well aware of. Our barrel of apples contains officers honest to the core and ready 24/7 to protect the citizens of Houston by putting their lives on the line every day.
The trust between our city’s diverse communities and the men and women in blue has increased to higher points every year. We don’t have to but we will mention 2017 and the full nine miles readily taken by innumerable officers, many devoted to overtime duty even thought their own homes were flooded beyond repair.
We haven’t had to respond to floods a la Hurricane Harvey in recent months. But we have in this issue of the B&G stories that cite strong examples of the trust of which we speak.
The Murdock badge story, for instance, spotlights the fourth generation of a family that has devoted close to 100 years of service in HPD on behalf of the citizens of Houston. To make even more special a badge ceremony in which Detective Sgt. Steve Murdock pinned his grandfather’s badge (No. 113) on his son, rookie Officer Travis Murdock, the sergeant donned a uniform and covered his own one-time beat with this fourth-generation officer.
At one stop on the North Shepherd beat, the officers Murdock encountered the mom-and-pop owners of a convenience store. Decades ago, Officer Steve Murdock happened to enter the store at the same time an armed suspect was threatening to sexually assault the female owner. Murdock arrested the man on the spot. To this day, the trust level of the would-be victim has soared through the Houston sky as she realized that another Officer Murdock will be on hand to help when in need.
Another story we have here, “the shoe story,” spotlights another sergeant’s efforts to co-sponsor a drive to provide name brand athletic shoes to at-risk elementary and middle school students in the needier areas of the city. Sgt. Michael Francoise has taken the lead in this ambitious effort (please see story). Francoise is using the same community-based formula he used to create the first-ever and highly successful Central Patrol Thanksgiving Food Drive last November.
Efforts like these don’t happen without high trust levels developed by HPD officers interfacing with the communities they serve every day on the beat.
This trust level has been – and will continue to be – an undying characteristic of a great police department, the Houston Police Department!