Houston needs more police
It is easy to get caught up in a world where police officers are getting shunned, publicly slandered and smeared across media platforms.
Within the past few months, it’s become a campaign to overlook the struggle and bravery that police officers face everyday. Much of the public is developing a false group mentality that the vast majority of law enforcement is corrupt.
Thank you, social media.
In the first six months of 2015, the Houston Police Department released crime statistics that showed an increase in murder rates that were up by 44 percent, according to the UCR Part 1 crime statistics.
It is a hard pill to swallow when you realize that, every 30 hours in Houston, someone was murdered in the first half of 2015, shown in a study done by ABC 13.
Statistics like these bring a hard reality check to everyone, including our police force.
“Safety (is our biggest concern) and not having enough officers to handle what we need. That’s why there’s a big push to bring in new recruits and more qualified people,” said a Harris County police officer who asked to remain anonymous.
After the death of Deputy Darren Goforth, responding to emergencies only got harder. The safety procedures increased despite the necessary staff expansion.
“Two-man patrols are in place, multiple units are now responding to high risk situations,” said the Harris County officer. “When dealing with a felony stop, before an officer does exit a vehicle or contact the person, they do require that a backup unit is called.”
Incentives like pay increases, compensation packages and concentrated training programs like UHD’s program for law enforcement preparation have proven successful in officer retention.
“We have more officers stay that have been through that program. They are already familiar with what we do,” said the Harris County officer. “The program is really intensive and is key to getting them ready.”
The compensation packages offered to officers at UH have helped keep campus safety a top priority.
“UHPD’s police officer compensation package has helped us to maintain consistent staffing,” said Lieutenant Bret Collier, chief of staff at UHPD.
But outside of the UH spectrum, Houston as a surrounding area isn’t as fortunate in maintaining consistent staffing.
Aside from facing death everyday as a possibility for being an officer in Houston, the negativity from the media that dictates so many young lives can cause a career path into law enforcement to seem undesirable.
In all honesty, the time to shed positive light on the law enforcement that tries to protect us from becoming apart of a murder statistic is long overdue.
In our city, there’s no PR military chanting slogan’s like “The Few, The Proud” or “”Always Ready, Always There” to make one feel ready to sign their life over.
But everyday, when someone in blue puts their uniform on, they form a city wide embodiment of that reality.
Opinion columnist Phylicia Sneed is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected]