Why are these officers still on the street?
If you did your job like they do theirs, you’d likely be fired – but not at HPD
By JAMES PINKERTON
Ten Houston Police Department officers have amassed 370 violations of HPD regulations over their careers, a laundry list of major and minor complaints that critics say illustrate how police can make mistakes repeatedly and still not lose their jobs.
The complaints include failing to investigate a suspected child rape, skipping court testimony and causing a drug case to be dismissed, wrecking dozens of police and private cars, writing hot checks, refusing to answer internal affairs investigators and detaining innocent residents.
The 10 officers – nine of whom are still active and one who resigned under investigation last year – have the most violations logged on an HPD Internal Affairs database of complaints sustained by police investigators. One officer has 47 sustained complaints against him alone. Another has 44.
The disciplinary actions for the complaints are detailed in more than 1,100 pages of city records obtained recently through an open records request.
Those punished include one veteran officer who ran unauthorized criminal checks on acquaintances, and who went through a department car wash with a bean-bag shotgun on a police cruiser’s roof. The gun case was damaged when it was run over by the next cruiser in line.
Several officers had trouble getting to work on time, with HPD citing one officer for being late for his shift 40 times. One officer left a prisoner unguarded in a room at Ben Taub Hospital. Another forgot to lock doors at a City Jail facility, allowing a prisoner to escape.
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