HPD annual town hall meeting lets residents voice concers, offer suggestions

It was part of the police department's second annual town hall meeting with the public
February 1, 2014 8:16:12 PM PST
Houston police heard first-hand from residents Saturday about some of the biggest issues facing the city. The department held a town hall meeting this week, and this town hall was different from others.

The police department says city wide crime numbers are heading in the right direction, but of course, there is still work to be done. Now, the chief and his command staff took time to listen to concerns and suggestions from the community.

With a police helicopter and SWAT vehicle to draw people in, Houston police offered members of the community the opportunity to get a few things off their chest.

"I think they could do more riding around the community," Houston resident Leslie Manzano said.

Those who came forward to speak at the second-annual town hall meeting raised concerns about burglaries, response times and overall police presence.

According to the department's crime statistics, there were 196 murders through November of last year. That's down from a high of nearly 300 in 2008, but still a big concern. And the city averaged more than 780 robberies a month.

"People are concerned about their property, their personal safety and what they can do to help, how they can protect themselves," Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said.

McClelland believes the overwhelming majority of the city supports his police department and the efforts of its officers.

You can count Pete Manzano among the department's supporters. He brought teens from his church to the town hall meeting to learn more about the police department.

"To see what the cops do and everything. They're for us and not against us," he said.

Chief McClelland says he needs more citizens like Pete Manzano to help his officers do their jobs better.

"We don't report a lot of stuff that's going on. And I think if we did it more often, I think a lot less crime would be happening," Pete Manzano said.

And the chief said there is always room for improvement, for both law enforcement and community members. He says conversations like those he had on Saturday do help move the department forward.

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