HOUSTON -- Houston Police officers violated department policy when providing an ambulance escort for the mother of Chief Charles McClelland, the I-Team confirmed through interviews and a review of police dispatch records.
The only time HPD is supposed to escort an ambulance to the hospital is when one of their own officers is shot in the line of duty.
"No doubt I understand there's going to be some people out there saying 'if this were my mother this wouldn't have happened," said Ray Hunt, President of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.
The Oct. 14 incident happened around 5:45 p.m. near the corner of Scott and Old Spanish Trail two weeks ago. Grainy surveillance video from a nearby business shows a flurry of emergency vehicles to a possible stroke victim.
But it wasn't just any victim, and not just any response.The I-Team confirmed at least five patrol cars left their beats and rushed to the scene to block rush-hour traffic and escort the ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital.
"We have a policy that we don't do escorts,” Hunt said. “However, I hope that whoever made this decision is not disciplined for simply being compassionate,” he said.
Chief McClelland said he had nothing to do with the decision.
“While I appreciate the work of the officers and their assistance, I was not aware of the escort at that time nor would I have approved of an escort if advised. All but one of the officers was back in service within 25 minutes," McClelland said in a written statement.
HPD isn't saying who exactly did give the order to dispatch the multiple units, other than it came from the South Central Patrol Division, located near the scene.
"If it had been me, I would have done the exact same thing," said Larry Karson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston-Downtown.
Karson said any policy violations are outweighed by the seriousness of the call for service.
“You could theoretically dedicate too many units where possibly impact something else on the job, but we're talking a life-threatening issue here,” Karson said.
“That always has a priority in policing, no matter whose mother it is,” he said.
Hattie McClelland has since been released from Memorial Hermann. Chief McClelland, through a spokesperson, said further details on her condition are a private family matter.