55-hour training course for HPD staffers mandated amid scandal was already taken by others for years

Lileana Pearson Image
Friday, May 31, 2024
New mandatory training for HPD staffers already taken by some
Houston Area Women's Center training, which some Houston police employees underwent for years, is now mandatory for more staffers.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Police Department is still reviewing and reassigning the quarter million suspended incident reports.

At a news conference on Thursday, Commander Elizabeth Lorenzana of the HPD's Special Victims Division said that of the more than 9,000 cases that fall under her department, including the suspended sexual assault reports, they only have misdemeanor reports to finish reviewing.

"Those investigations that need to be assigned for follow-up investigations are being assigned to adult sex crime investigators," Lorenzana said.

At the end of April, Houston police announced they had wrapped up the internal review of the controversial suspension code, but the next day, the independent police oversight board sent it back, saying more was needed.

ABC13 asked HPD on Thursday when the new review would be released, but the police did not have an estimated date.

Mayor John Whitmire's review panel also recently released a list of recommendations to improve victim outcomes and prevent similar scandals. One recommendation was mandatory training from the Houston Area Women's Center for the Special Victims Division.

"There are systematic issues that HPD needs to address," HAWC CEO Emilee Whitehurst said.

Some HPD employees have taken the 55-hour course training for years, but now it's mandatory for more staff. The first round of training is in June, the first step in many that will need to be taken.

"The remedy is going to be a longer-term process, so what I think our role here today is to reinforce to the greater community that HPD being accountable also includes genuine collaboration," Whitehurst said.

Houston also doesn't have a permanent police chief after Troy Finner retired. Larry Satterwhite is the acting chief.

On Thursday, the mayor said he's reviewing candidates and talking with the police department as he looks for a full-time replacement. There are no real timelines on when we'll know who it is, but Whitmire said it will be sooner rather than later.

Any victims whose contact information has changed since the time of their report can call (713) 308-1180 or email specialvictimsreport@houstonpolice.org.

HPD Suspended Cases Coverage:

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