HOUSTON – A former Houston Police homicide sergeant has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation into whether some murder cases were mishandled.
“Just because you’re relieved of duty, does not mean you’re guilty of anything,” said Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.
Hunt said the action is not considered discipline, but confirmed the sergeant had to turn in his badge and is temporarily stripped of his police powers. He will continue to be paid.
HPD Chief Charles McClelland did not comment on the personnel action or details of the investigation, but pledged openness and transparency.
“If there is a problem in this organization, we are willing to admit it, and we are willing to fix it,” McClelland said. The chief said he himself initiated the internal probe of the homicide squad after a question was raised about policies and procedures in the division. Multiple sources tell the I-Team that could mean some murder cases not investigated thoroughly, or not at all.
But McClelland urged the public not to rush to judgment.
“These are allegations and sometimes allegations turn out to be true and sometimes not to be true,” he said.
McClelland said despite the allegations, he has not lost confidence in the homicide division.
“If one of my loved ones was murdered in this city, I would want the Houston Police Department conduct that investigation and no other law enforcement agency,” McClelland said.
“That’s how confident I am.”