Promises made promises kept. Before being elected, I campaigned on the idea of creating a District J Patrol – a dedicated HPD patrol that would solely focus on low-level quality of life crimes that works directly with a community committee made up of individuals I’ve appointed who live in District J. People always say we need better community policing but never take it beyond a catchy phrase. This patrol is designated to only focus on violations identified by the constituents, and they work collaboratively with HPD on strategy and enforcement.
The District J Patrol will have its own fully equipped vehicles that are multi-functional to go on road and off road to increase presence in areas a regular patrol car cannot, such as parks, vacant lots, bayous, and between apartment complexes. They are also designed in an open concept, which allows officers to fully engage with the community as they patrol in their neighborhoods.
We must re-imagine community management. This patrol is a new modern approach to policing that is community centered and assists with needed reforms such as Cite and Release. I have also committed to work with the department to advocate for Warning and Release in the upcoming legislative session.
The officers who serve on the District J Patrol will be trained as a Differential Response Team. They will have additional certification that they must continue to get every year, that trains on mental health, substance abuse, and neighborhood violations. They also have the ability to cite for property code violations. The entire patrol and the vehicles will be paid for with my Council District Service Funds. This allows our office and the community to truly have skin in the game.
I want to thank HPD and the community for coming together to collaboratively work on creative ways to keep our communities safe. Reforms come in many ways, and this is one step in the right direction that should build trust between police and the communities they serve.