HOUSTON — Houston is awaiting an announcement from the mayor's police reform task force after Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd.
"This is not one of those moments when you can say we've accomplished our mission or mission accomplished," Mayor Sylvester Turner said shortly after Chauvin was convicted. "It's not a time to jump up and down. It's a time to be reflective and ask what can we do – collectively – to make our city better."
Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner agreed the verdict, which has been met with a whirlwind of emotions nationwide, serves as a reminder of the long road ahead in uniting law enforcement and the local community.
On Tuesday, Turner said he expects the city's police reform task force to make an announcement regarding its recommendations next week. No specific date was given.
More than 100 recommendations presented
In September, the task force presented more than 100 recommendations that included:
- an overhaul the current IPOB to support a fulltime, paid administrative and investigative staff, accompanied by a diverse civilian board, to hold the HPD accountable to a higher standard.
- Balance the power dynamics between the HPD and Houstonians by releasing body camera footage of critical incidents in a consistent and timely manner
- Expand existing partnerships between the HPD, mental health professionals, and social services organizations to lighten the load on officers when responding to vulnerable populations, such as those experiencing mental health crises, domestic violence, human trafficking, substance abuse, and homelessness.
Turner assembled the task force in summer 2020.
At the time, HPD faced immense pressure to release bodycam footage from officer-involved shootings as well as criticism for its handling of mental health emergencies that turned fatal.
A diverse group of 45 experts make up the taskforce; which is focused on find actionable way to help the police department improve its crisis aversion methods, determine when video should be released publicly and promote community policing.