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Houston Police Officers Reflect On Strategies In Wake Of Recent Shootings

Police work has been under much scrutiny recently, especially after the events in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas. Are there things law enforcement can do to avoid more shootings and increase trust with the community?

The Houston Police Department often prides itself on what it says are good community relations, for example by attending meetings with neighborhood groups on a regular basis.

Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, said he and other officers have been going out to schools and churches to communicate about what each side expects from the other.

Speaking on TV 8's Red, White and Blue, he also said he wants to be as transparent as possible.

"I have no problem with us sitting down within 24, 48 hours after a shooting, share with activists, share with everybody the information that we have, so that we can get information out there and make sure that we keep the city safe."

Hunt said this would help preempt any rumors spreading on social media.

There has also been much talk about police profiling minorities.

HPD executive assistant Chief Michael Dirden said his agency has strategies to reduce bias among its officers, but he said it should go further and also include implicit bias.

"There are training opportunities available throughout this country now," he said. "They're emerging, but those are things that you can do in terms of psychological evaluation of folks before they become police officers and education and training of police officers once they're on the force."

Dirden said the most important thing for officers is to communicate well with civilians during encounters.

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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