Councilmembers Want Answers from HPD

Last year HPD embarked on an aggressive recruiting campaign, that included a contract with Patriot Advertising. It involved print, TV and radio ads, and billboards in Houston and other cities.

The City funded the campaign, with the caveat that councilmembers wanted an analysis of the recruiting results.

Now the $750,000 annual contract is up for renewal. Councilmember Pam Holm is one of many around the table who say HPD hasn't been forthcoming with results from the campaign.

"I want to know how effective the last contract was. I want to know what the results were. I don't expect them to say we've hired 400 police officers and 396 are because of Patriot, but I'd like some analysis and evaluation if this is appropriate use of money to expand and further our recruitment."

Holm and half a dozen other councilmembers tagged the contract, delaying the vote on it by one week. Councilmember Adrian Garcia, who is a former Houston Police Officer, offered some defense of the department.

"We are in tremendous competition with the private sector for the quality of people that we're looking for. So trying to communicate the opportunity for a career within HPD and making that career appealing versus going to the private sector, we need all the tools necessary to try to communicate that."

Garcia acknowledged that HPD management could do more to communicate results back to council. He suggested councilmembers seek answers from the Mayor's office when they can't get immediate results from HPD.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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