HPD Chief defends dept. to community

March 20, 2010 6:23:46 AM PDT
The interim Houston police chief defended the department's record to civil rights leaders who were upset about the 15 civilians killed by police last year. Chief Charles McClelland met with activists at the Shape Community Center in southeast Houston last night. McClelland discussed several mentally ill people who had been killed in shootouts last year, saying that the department had responded to 25,000 calls about mentally disturbed individuals last year. Three thousand of those people were taken to the hospital.

McClelland acknowledged that the department will have to work to regain the public's trust.

"One meeting won't do it," he said. "People have to see action ... see change, see positive steps. And that is what I intend to do."

McClelland also defended the department against allegations of racism. He said racism wasn't an institutionalized problem at HPD.