Who could replace HPD Chief Hurtt?

December 16, 2009 4:16:50 PM PST
A new mayor is on her way to city hall, and Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt is on his way out. His last day is just two weeks from today. Houston's mayor-elect has made it clear she wants a new police chief. In the wake of Chief Hurtt's resignation yesterday, the search is now underway for his replacement. A source tells Eyewitness News, it appears two members of HPD's command staff may have made the short list.

Less than 24 hours after Chief Hurtt tendered his resignation, the attention at city hall shifted to the mayor-elect and who she'll pick to replace him.

Houston City Councilmember Wanda Adams said, "Whoever that person may be, they have a hard job ahead of them because we have to gain back public trust again."

Mayor-elect Annise Parker has said repeatedly she'd like to hire from within. There are many faces to choose from. There are 14 members of the top command staff and four executive assistant chiefs, including Martha Montalvo, Kirk Munden, Charles McClelland and Timothy Oettmeier and the 10 assistants chiefs who report directly to them.

"I've met them, I know them, I've worked with them," said Houston City Councilmember Anne Clutterbuck. "I've seen the attention to detail and the intellectual rigor with which they approach things."

A source tells eyewitness Executive Assistant Chief Timothy Oettmeier and Assistant Chief Vicki King, who reports directly to him, are being seriously considered for the position.

A 36 year veteran of the force, Chief Oettmeier was promoted to his current position in 2002. He oversees everything from the crime lab, property room and the latent fingerprint unit to the department's fleet of helicopters, emergency communications and the city's jails. Under his watch, two major scandals erupted ? one with the crime lab and most recently with the fingerprint lab.

Chief King has been with HPD for 24 years. She oversees everything from special operations and tactical operations to traffic enforcement and vehicular crimes. Chief Hurtt promoted her to current position five and half years ago, shortly after he was hired as chief.

A department spokesperson says Chief Oettmeier and Chief King have not officially been named candidates for the chief's job. Mayor-elect Parker also insists that she does not have a short list of candidates at this point. She says she simply wants to hire somebody who wants to take HPD in a different direction.


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