The Task Force recommended more than Grits expected but less than I'd hoped. These are very much reformist approaches that contemplate improving systems addressing police misconduct, not reducing police interactions with the public overall. (The one exception is their endorsement of Houston PD availing itself of a 13-year old statute allowing police to give tickets instead of arresting for certain minor offenses.) That doesn't mean they're not important reforms, they're just not radical ones.
There's a risk a report like this with its 104 deep-in-the-weeds recommendations will be briefly acknowledged in the press, then shelved. But it could/should be the starting gun for a broader discussion across many subjects, not the final word on reform. Grits' hope is that these commentaries contribute to that conversation in Houston. It's much needed.
- Task Force on reforming Houston police: Empower oversight board, remove civil-service barriers to accountability at #txlege, and have someone besides the DA prosecute police misconduct (Grits has a suggestion)
- Houston Mayor's Policing Task Force Recap, Part 2: "Let the 'good cops' speak!," toward a functional police-oversight system, changes to use of force and bodycam policies needed, and building trust through transparency