Lubbock Community Engagement Task Force provides answers to citi - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock Community Engagement Task Force provides answers to citizen questions

Provided by City of Lubbock Provided by City of Lubbock
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The City of Lubbock has provided a long list of questions and answers that were submitted to Lubbock’s Community Engagement Task Force.

Police Chief Greg Stevens and Mayor Dan Pope have provided answers to questions that were unable to be addressed during the scheduled forum time.

Members of the Community Engagement Task Force thank all those who attended the first forum for their participation. The task force invites all community members to take part in the next forum. Planning for the second forum is underway. A time and location will be announced at a later date.

Answers to Questions Submitted During First Community Forum Held September 1, 2016

What incentives can you offer in recruitment of minorities?

Lubbock Police Department is a civil service agency and is governed by Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government code.  Every officer must be compensated exactly the same, and no officer may be paid any bonus of incentive except those allowed under state law.  The level of benefits offered is an incentive to recruit minorities.

What protective factors are being implemented to prevent and protect young children and adults from sex trafficking in our community?

The LPD has two units which focus primarily on these types of crimes.  One is in our Family Crimes Unit; the other is part of our Special Operations Division.  Each approach the issues from different perspectives, e.g. online solicitation of children, undercover operations to apprehend those involved in human trafficking, LPD officers assigned to federal agency task force jobs to work collaboratively across jurisdictional lines to stop and prevent trafficking.  LPD investigators have been very successful in bringing these types of crimes to prosecution across the South Plains and Permian Basin regions.

In a case where a police officer shoots and kills a citizen unfairly, families of the victim are left out of the picture due to a grand jury. Can the Grand Jury Policy be reviewed and changed?

The grand jury process is done according to state law and can only be changed through legislation.  I would refer this question to the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office for the best answer.

Chief, is it possible that we can have a non-sugar coated meeting on the true relationship between blacks and the police.

Absolutely.  I feel like these forums are a great start at doing just that.  If a different format should be followed, I would encourage any suggestions to be voiced.

Are officers allowed to use their cruisers for personal use? Do my tax dollars provide them with a permit vehicle rather than their salary?

Officers are allowed to drive their assigned vehicle off-duty with restrictions and responsibilities.  Often the first LPD officer to arrive on the scene of an emergency is an off-duty officer driving their assigned fleet car.  You can view LPD’s Vehicle Use Policy HERE.

How would you describe the current corporate culture of the LPD? What are some things that you would like to see removed from that culture? Thanks Chief Stevens

I would describe the current culture of the LPD as professional and accountable.  Nationwide, police officers can become defensive and reclusive when events such as we’ve seen over the last couple of years occur, and we strive to be open an accountable.

Being the sister of an 18 year old non-verbal autistic male, I want to know if there is any training when it comes to any mental illness, and if it’s sufficient, or just looked over?

Officers receive training on these issues during the 22-week basic academy and again at different times during in-service training throughout their career.  They also receive Crisis Intervention Training with periodic updates.  The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) has established a specific certification for becoming a Mental Health Officer, and many LPD officers have been through this training already.  The certification is $35 per officer in addition to the cost of the training itself.  By the end of fiscal year 15-16, we will have 61 certified Mental Health Officers, and we have budgeted to certify that many or more for fiscal year 16-17.  Every LPD officers receives training to recognize and appropriately handle persons with disabilities and mental illness and to call for support from other officers or community resources who may be better trained or more prepared to manage incidents involving such individuals.

Do you have officers trained in dealing with people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities? Our citizens with these needs are not always handled appropriately. How do you plan to address this issue?

Officers receive training on these issues during the 22-week basic academy and again at different times during in-service training throughout their career.  They also receive Crisis Intervention Training with periodic updates.  The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) has established a specific certification for becoming a Mental Health Officer, and many LPD officers have been through this training already.  The certification is $35 per officer in addition to the cost of the training itself.  By the end of fiscal year 15-16, we will have 61 certified Mental Health Officers, and we have budgeted to certify that many or more for fiscal year 16-17.  Every LPD officers receives training to recognize and appropriately handle persons with disabilities and mental illness and to call for support from other officers or community resources who may be better trained or more prepared to manage incidents involving such individuals.

From the police viewpoint, what do you see as the racial issues when it comes to policing Lubbock neighborhoods? Is there an issue?

We do discuss the issue of unintentional bias in the academy and in-service training. We train our officers to police and act in an objective manner without regard to race.

How many African Americans officers are there on your force? What attempts are there to ensure that patrol cars have at least one person of color when patrolling neighborhoods that are predominantly inhabited by people of color?

We have 10 or fewer African American sworn officers currently.  Several officers are mixed race, so the exact number would depend on what race those officers most identify with.

The law nor our policy allows us to make assignments based on race, gender, national origin, age, religion, or other protected class.

From a Police Officers wife: Please remember our officers have families to go home to. It is never easy keeping a strong mind and heart as a wife, mother or child, knowing that our officers may never make it home after shift. Please keep in mind they are people too.

My dad began his 34-year police career in Amarillo before I was born.  I grew up in a police family, and I know the pressures and stress my own family faces.  Our goal is for everyone in our great city to go home to their family every day.

Code Enforcement: Need more! Instead of just addressing a complaint, Code Enforcement should be on lookout for violations at all times and address them without someone complaining.

There are a tremendous number and a great variety of Code violations throughout Lubbock. Code Inspection does a good job of investigating complaints, working with residents and businesses, and enforcing the City Code of Ordinances. Codes Inspectors respond to calls and complaints, and they write-up other properties, weeds, junk vehicles, and other violations when responding to other calls. However, the City does not have the budget or personnel to systematically and proactively patrol all of Lubbock in search of Code of Ordinance violations.

What steps are you taking to ensure the public that any police related shootings will be investigated fairly?

When I was appointed as Lubbock’s Police Chief, one of the first changes I made was to create the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) to replace the previous single internal affairs investigator.  The OPS is commanded by a Captain who reports directly to the Chief of Police rather than anyone lower in the chain-of-command.  The OPS include two supervisory rank officers who conduct administrative investigations separately from and independently of the regular investigative units in the police department.  The members of OPS are hand selected by me, and report only to me.  They conduct their investigations of officer conduct (shootings as well as all other conduct) efficiently.

Mayor: What are you going to do about the flooding? Yesterday is a GREAT example!!!

I appreciate the question. This year the City has seen heavy rain events that were intense in a short period of time causing temporary localized flooding. The City has invested over $112M in several large storm drainage projects to help elevate area wide flooding. These completed projects have shown to be a success the past years when rain resulted in localized flooding that reseeded within hours after the rain event. Prior to the installation of these drainage projects areas near playa lakes would remain under water for up to 6 months. This was evident in 1999 when the City received intense rain fall and areas were flooded for 6 months with severe structural damage. The City has proposed one additional storm drainage project that will directly benefit the Maxey Park and medical district while providing addition flood protection for the Tech Terrace, Stumpy Hamilton, and Mose Hood areas.

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