Councilmembers Want Answers from HPD

The Houston Police Department is about to renew an advertising campaign for recruiting. But city councilmembers say before they fund the campaign they want some answers from HPD about the success of the ads. Laurie Johnson has more.
Last year HPD embarked on an aggressive recruiting campaign, that included a contract with Patriot Advertising. It involved print, TV and radio ads, and billboards in Houston and other cities.

The City funded the campaign, with the caveat that councilmembers wanted an analysis of the recruiting results.

Now the $750,000 annual contract is up for renewal. Councilmember Pam Holm is one of many around the table who say HPD hasn't been forthcoming with results from the campaign.

"I want to know how effective the last contract was. I want to know what the results were. I don't expect them to say we've hired 400 police officers and 396 are because of Patriot, but I'd like some analysis and evaluation if this is appropriate use of money to expand and further our recruitment."

Holm and half a dozen other councilmembers tagged the contract, delaying the vote on it by one week. Councilmember Adrian Garcia, who is a former Houston Police Officer, offered some defense of the department.

"We are in tremendous competition with the private sector for the quality of people that we're looking for. So trying to communicate the opportunity for a career within HPD and making that career appealing versus going to the private sector, we need all the tools necessary to try to communicate that."

Garcia acknowledged that HPD management could do more to communicate results back to council. He suggested councilmembers seek answers from the Mayor's office when they can't get immediate results from HPD.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...