HPD Officer Safety

As Houston Police Officers mourn the death of one of their own, Houston Councilmembers discuss whether more needs to be done to protect law enforcement officers. Laurie Johnson has more.


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The murder of Houston Police Officer Timothy Abernethy is the fifth police killing in as many years. Houston Councilmembers shared words of condolence around the council table, led by Councilwoman Pam Holm.

“And we grieve that duty has called once again. Every time one of our officers puts on a uniform in the morning they know the risk they’re taking. They are in the business of public safety, and while they don’t anticipate what might happen, they know what could happen.”

Holm says she thinks this is a time for the city to reevaluate some of the police department’s policies.

“I don’t know if two men in a patrol car is the answer, I don’t know if more spending is the answer, I don’t know if more patrol units on the ground is the answer. But I do know that we need to answer those questions.”

“I don’t want somebody who’s not a surgeon telling the surgeon how to do the business.”

Houston Mayor Bill White seemed to take issue with Holm’s suggestion. He says top-down management of the police department isn’t appropriate.

“I have heard the HPD policies concerning patrol staffing misstated more often than not. So I just think that this is something that we will deal with within the police department and there’ll be appropriate time — if people want to make editorial comments fine. It’s a free country.”

Ultimately, White says an officer’s death is not the fault of police policy, but of the person who pulled the trigger.

HPD will honor Officer Abernethy at funeral services this Friday.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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