Those who read these articles know I am big on statistics when it comes to our profession. Too often individuals attempt to use emotional arguments to damage the reputation of Houston police officers.
After all this is 2020, when you share factual information you are accused of hate speech. Literally, this just happened to me. District Attorney Kim Ogg accused me of it because of the opinion
I expressed to you last month in a message packed on facts.
There are plenty of opportunists who will use these emotional arguments to their own advantage, despite the fact that there is no statistical evidence to back up their claims. Two of the more prevalent topics you hear people screaming about is “police officers shoot people every day for no reason” and “police officers mistreat the public every single day.”
Let’s dive in and see if there is any truth whatsoever to these emotional arguments.
Houston police officers make approximately 2 million documented citizen contacts every single year. This means a call for service, traffic stop, self-initiated investigation, etc. We all know that citizen contacts are significantly higher than that 2 million number because we don’t document every single time we interact with a citizen in a given day and we don’t track how many times an investigator goes to meet with complainants, witnesses, etc.
You get the idea. Now here are the stats for officer-involved shootings over the last three years:
2018 – 18
2019 – 21
Just to clarify, in the numbers above the overwhelming majority entailed confrontations with armed suspects. But the numbers undoubtedly dispel the false narrative that HPD officers are shooting people every day. In fact, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be shot by a Houston police officer!
Venture to say also, if you aren’t committing a crime, assaulting someone, and using a weapon, the chances of being shot by one of us evaporate all together. I guarantee you every officer on this department wishes the numbers above were ZERO. However, that is not the reality of our profession and every officer-involved shooting is dictated by the suspect and their actions. PERIOD!
The other ridiculous claim I highlighted above is that Houston police officers mistreat the public every single day. I will remind you of that 2 million citizen contact figure for 2019 to point out that there were only 276 citizen complaints were made against us.
Think about that for a moment: 2 million citizen contacts and only 276 complaints were filed by citizens. That means that in .013 percent of the time a citizen felt he or she was mistreated by the individuals whose jobs are to preserve and protect them. We didn’t even highlight if these were sustained complaints. If we did, the number and that miniscule percentage would be even lower. We are simply pointing out the fact they filed a complaint.
This statistic destroys the false narrative about our officers. It shows we are doing the job every day in a professional manner, despite being woefully understaffed and tasked with chasing the same criminals over and over and over again due to bail reform and our embarrassment of a DA’s office.
Folks, the truth here is that most of our critics are opportunists interested in building their public profile to garner more ratings, score more political points, build their legal practice or somehow monetize their faux outrage.
Their arguments are emotional and not based in facts. The more often we make passionate, fact-based arguments, the sillier these opportunists look. But make no mistake, this is a minute-by-minute, day-by-day fight to push back on this anti-police nonsense.
The HPOU will continue to be your advocate so the public knows the real story. The story that the hard-working men and women of the Houston Police Department are the best in the world and deserve the respect we earn every single day we put our lives on the line for them.
As always, be safe out there and if you need anything I am only a phone call, text away, or you can also reach me at the following: email (firstname.lastname@example.org), messenger on Facebook, DM on twitter (@JoeGamaldi).