Annise Parker Says She'll Get Rid Of HPD Chief Hurtt

Mayoral candidate Annise Parker has plans get rid of Police Chief Harold Hurtt if she's elected.

"I will replace the police chief. I think he's ineffective," Parker told the Houston Property Rights Association at a luncheon on Friday. "He doesn't..." Parker was interrupted by someone in the crowd before she could elaborate. (Hair Balls wasn't at the luncheon, but we listened to a recording of it.)

That's all Parker said about Hurtt, but it seems she feels strongly about finding a new chief because her comment was almost unsolicited. It came after a person in the audience asked a long-winded question about why police officers don't investigate or write tickets at minor traffic accidents.

"You will be mayor, then you could tell those fellas to get back to the good ol' stuff. It's not what you want to do, it's what we need to do," the man said, and when he continued to talk, Parker interrupted with her announcement about Hurtt.

Jeri Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Parker campaign, downplayed the statement, saying that Parker would review the bosses of each city department.

"It's pretty standard for a new administration to bring in their own team," Brooks says.

Then she gave us the official statement from Parker: "I have said on multiple occasions that we need good leadership in the police department. I know the police chief is already looking for other jobs, but regardless, I would expect to replace him."

Parker already looks at Hurtt's job performance in her current position as city controller, but Brooks couldn't say why Parker thinks the chief is inefficient. Parker wasn't immediately available for comment.

Hurtt wasn't available for comment either -- he's out of the office this week -- but a spokesman for the department says, "He loves Houston and would like to retire here."

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Paul Knight
Contact: Paul Knight