“Tonight, Houston homicide detectives are working to solve the murder of a man found stabbed in a parking lot.”
In Houston, the first five minutes of every newscast includes words like these. When we
hear news reporters providing minimalistic details of yet another murder, we believe that detectives will work to solve that particular crime because solving crimes makes us safer. Unfortunately, when Ryan Chandler and some others were assigned murder cases at the Houston Police Department, investigations remained idle and murderers remained free to roam. Thanks to the efforts of James Pinkerton, we know that Chandler had a variety of lapses including waiting years to file reports and lying about the status of murder investigations.
For years, Houstonians have heard of problems with the Houston Police Department. Historically, these issues surrounded police brutality – think Joe Campos Torres. In 2003, the city was shocked to learn about the total failing of the HPD Crime Lab. Instead of solving the root problem of incompetence and poor internal governance, our local government has simply created smoke and mirrors. Recently, Annise Parker created a local government corporation to “control” the crime laboratory; however, problems still remain.
It is long past the time that HPD withdrew from the crime lab business. Scandal after scandal has led to more bureaucratic bumbling with the same management in place. Bill King wrote a great op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle about the crime lab situation.
Another scandal broke over the holiday weekend. A senior police officer is under investigation for signing in police officers at the municipal courts when these officers were actually absent.
The purpose of the criminal justice system is to hold people accountable for their conduct and make a community safe. Our local government seems to believe that their allegiances are to the police union rather than the people of Houston. The District Attorney’s office is meant to be that checkandbalance – the watchdog of the police.
Now, the police department is embroiled in one scandal after another that festers because the DA’s office can’t or won’t do its job. Ryan Chandler is just the latest exampleof poor law enforcementleadership manifesting itself through shameless politics and mismanagement. I say this because Chandler is indicative of the problems of the crime lab, HPOU, and the command structure of HPD itself.
The HPD organizational structure is very top heavy. Each division has a number of chiefs and captains; yet, people like Ryan Chandler are permitted to exist for years. Tim Oettmeier serves as an Executive Assistant Chief over the Homicide Division at the Houston Police Department, which meant he headed up investigations during the time of theChandler scandal. Somehow, he missed the fact that Chandler’s supervisors continued to offer identical performance evaluations.
It is no wonder that HPOU is linked up with Allen Blakemore – they both have a desire to control the local law enforcement scene. After the Pat Lykos administration prosecuted HPOU members for theft, the union paired with Allen Blakemore in November 2012 to criticize Lykos’s trace policy that had been in effect for two years. Of course, this was the public kickoff to Blakemore’s campaign to take back the DA’s office.
The truth was that Lykos, at the encouragement of senior prosecutors (who would later support her opponent), announced that, beginning in January 2010, the Harris County District Attorney’s office would not prosecute cocaine possession cases where the amounts were so small that the evidence could not be retested by the defense. At the time, the police union said that they would work together with the DA’s office.
Two years later, the union acted like they were horrified by this trace policy, even though it had been in effect for two years. The union teamed up with Blakemore to take back the DA’s office. A group of folks either sat idly by or actively participated in using a grand jury for an unlawful purpose, to oust a District Attorney.
Now, the current DA is supported by the union and is also a Blakemore client. Feel safer?
What is the future for the Houston Police Department? The agency ordered a recently-released Operational Staffing Report. As you may guess, the police report says that there is a staffing shortage and the answer to unsolved crime is more police. Instead of maximizing current staff, the Houston Police Department wants to keep the same structure and continue down the path of a less-safe Houston. This department wants the public to pay them to raise the crime rate. It has become a culture to them. Our elected officials need to reverse this problem by paying them to lower the crime rate with real results. In the last ten years, the police department’s budget has increased from $431 million to over $800 million – and not one officer has been added to the force. Truly, not only are we less safe; but, the officers themselves are less safe because of the outdated structure.
The future without change is that this reactive justice system will spiral out of control and our city will be overrun by the criminal element. It is time for our local leaders to use this opportunity to make a structural change to the Houston Police Department. Unfortunately, I don’t think the current leadership has the guts to make these necessary changes. It is easier for everyone to continue to support the union and the outdated structure. That way, no one risks a political endorsement. It is a culture of complacency.
Ed Gonzalez, a city council member and former homicide detective, is embroiled in the Chandler scandal. Do you think that Gonzalez has any suggestions about good governance concerning the police?
Why does the Harris County District Attorney’s office permit expensive special prosecutors like Jim Mount on certain cases; but, when a HPD homicide detective (married to a Harris County Assistant District Attorney) is accused of lying and potential criminal activity, the case is shipped off to the office of a former police union lawyer? And, of course, it was not surprising to see Chip Lewis, the DA’s favorite defense attorney, insert himself into the Chandler situation. Maybe that relationship deserves a closer look.
So, are we safer without Chandler?We know that solving crimes makes us safer. Holding people accountable for their actions is necessary to prevent future crime. Future offenders need to understand that this behavior will not be tolerated in our community. Firing one guy fails to attack the root of the systemic problem. Without pulling up this root, we will remain unsafe.
Murray, thank you I was getting lazy!
Looking from the outside, you are a sad little man, Don. Your constant whining would be funny if it werent so pathetic.
Do you know Judo? Why do you have to be anonymous? Certainly, you are not like the punk cowards who post on Murray’s blog? So with all that I have written you are ok with all of it? You just don’t like me personally, you know I am laughing at your pathetically cowardly ass!
See what I mean?
Which party are you talking about, the division party, the party at the Houston Club, or the petroleum club party?
Your regular ass thumpings at the courthouse shows exactly what type of trial lawyer you are. I don’t post outrageous untrue bullshit all day. I noticed you never refute anything I write so you must be in agreement.
Expect to read a lot about the exact failings you claimed Judge Lykos was guilty of. Chip, you, Devon, Susan Brown, Jim Mount, should all expect to be the subject of lots of posts exposing lots of criminal activity all the way through 2016.
This will change when the corruption is flushed away. There are two elections coming up for lots of fun musings.
Murray, Devon can’t fire Rachel and you know that. Patience, if anyone had patience it was Rachel. Let’s see if Devon does the right thing and apologizes to Rachel. Andersons have no class and I am doubtful.
There was a deal cut with the devil. Now everyone has to live with that poor judgement, especially Belinda.
To Murray’s anonymous poster July 8, 2014 3:06
Dude or dudette,
My god you have some valuable information Amanda needed for her lawsuit. If anything you said was true it needs to be included in Amanda’s lawsuit against Rachel. Look your friend has a judgement against her and owes Rachel a lot of money. Your friend Amanda has already had to place 85,000 dollars in the court registry to pay a judgement. It’s not just Amanda, Scott Cook, and Chip Lewis need your deposition too. We are waiting on the 5th circuit to rule and will be asking for additional attorney fees for the appeal, sanctions, travel, the costs of our stay in the Ritz Carlton, our usual suite. I am not sure they print that much money but rest assured you can save them. 3:06, I know you are going to do the right thing and get a hold of these fine lawyers immediately, Cook and Lewis. Amanda needs your help and think about it if you let her go down we would have been proved right.
On the other hand, and my money is on a cowardly anonymous poster who just makes shit up. So you are going to do the honorable thing and not make Murray into the biggest liar West of the Mississippi and give your information to Amanda’s lawyer. It is up to you to save her and the honor of Murray’s blog and prove me wrong. You can be Chip Lewis’ hero, Amanda’s hero and save them a fortune. You don’t want to let Rachel win! I will call Mike Stafford Rachel’s lawyer and tell him Amanda has new information for her lawsuit and we are going to lose. Rachel has been wrong and we have all been bamboozled by her. The reality is we will hear nothing, no affidavit, bumkus, another bullshit lie from an anonymous poster, Murray’s thing.
Why has Murray not written one damn thing about the Chandler and rest of HPD debacle? Just because Chandler is married to Hampton? Not one peep!
Murray has not commented on the mass exodus of prosecutors, prosecutors breaking beer bottles and threatening other prosecutors, firings, Ryan Chandler, and the list grows everyday. Mike Anderson promised to return to the days of Chuck Rosenthal and he has let no one down. Anderson did exactly what he said he would do, except try cases. I am sure Murray sees none of this news worthy, why would he. This is exactly the way it used to be.
3:06 anyone, anyone
Murray will never admit you were right. He has to live with the disaster the Anderson DA’s office has become. There are many more problems about to come to light, keep vigilant.
I don’t want Murray to admit anything. This blog serves as a record to what a true moron Murray is. One day soon people will be asking how we got here and they will not have far to look. Murray and the morons serve as an example of the worst of the DA’s office. It is nice to see what happens when Murray’s vision of leadership is implemented by Devon and Mike. We are right back where Chuck left it.
Belinda Hill is the only person in the Anderson DA’s office that ever stopped by to talk to Rachel, wished her well, and thanked her for her service. Stephen Hotze would never allow Belinda Hill to become DA. Anyone that can pick up a paper or turn on a computer knows Hotze’s beliefs. There is a long list of folks who can’t be DA in Hotze’s world. You can say a lot of things about Pat Lykos but she couldn’t stand the Hotze’s. Murray and the Anderson’s, on the other hand, be loving on Steve.
Added to the list of things Murray won’t talk about.
So Mike Anderson’s funeral was a campaign expense for Devon. Yep, you read that right, Devon Anderson used her campaign account to pay for her husbands funeral, about says it all doesn’t.