Interim HPD chief addresses the media

January 7, 2010 3:40:49 PM PST
Along with a new mayor, the city has a new police chief, at least for a little while. On Thursday afternoon, interim Chief Charles McClelland held his first news conference to talk about the department, and who might take control of the department permanently. There are few departments in which he hasn't been involved in his 32 years with the Houston Police Department. Now, for the moment, at least, he's running it.

"I want to assure you that everything's being taken care of. The department is working normal," said McClelland.

Former Police Chief Harold Hurtt left the job December 30. There was no question of his departure. Newly-elected Mayor Annise Parker made it clear during the campaign that she wanted a community-centered policing philosophy for HPD. The same day Hurtt left, McClelland was appointed interim chief. But he wouldn't be pinned during Thursday whether or not he wanted to make that permanent.

"That's not up to me. That's up to Mayor Parker," said McClelland. "Anyone who's on the executive command staff should be in a position that if they're faced with that opportunity or challenge should be able to stand up and take on the leadership role."

For the record, McClelland was serving as executive assistant chief. Mayor Parker is bringing in nationally-based Police Executive Research Forum to help in the search.

McClelland says he's met with the mayor once. She's not asked him about the permanent post, he says.

But even if he were asked, would he serve?

"Like I said, I've prepared myself my entire career to take on any role or any challenge that I'm faced with and I just think that at heart, I'm a tough-nosed street cop who loves this job."