Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland on Tuesday announced his resignation after 39 years with the department and six years as top cop.
Mayor Sylvester Turner broke the news at a press conference, saying the resignation would be effective at the end of February. McClelland was appointed by Turner's predecessor, Annise Parker.
According to the Houston Chronicle, "McClelland said he turned 61 on Monday and that it was 'not an emotional or rash decision' to retire."
In a video on the department's Facebook page, McClelland said, "I want to tell all the citizens, thank you for your support of me and also the men and women of the Houston Police Department. I ask that you continue to pray for them and support them, they are certainly committed to keeping you [and] your neighbor safe, and they need your support."
McClelland was at the helm during some high-profile cases, including the videotaped beating of teenager Chad Holley his first year on the job. The chief fired seven officers after the incident, but two eventually regained their jobs.
At a mayoral press conference held in February 2011, in which Mayor Parker announced the creation of an independent police oversight board, McClelland showed his cool by performing CPR on a freelance photographer who collapsed. (The swift action also helped distract from the fact that the independent review board would basically have no teeth.)
In December 2014, McClelland joined the growing ranks of other big-city chiefs who have criticized the failure of the "war on drugs." That month, he went on Dean Becker's KPFT radio show Cultural Baggage and said that strict sentencing has disproportionately affected minorities.
"It has a trickle-down effect, that a lot of young men who are minorities, in their early twenties, have a felony conviction on their résumé, and now they're unemployable," McClelland said. "And we wonder why they don't have jobs, they're not working....but we've put them in a position to where the odds are stacked against them."
The Center, Texas, native joined HPD as a beat cop in 1977, according to his bio on the department's website, which also describes him as "a proponent of community-based policing and enhanced crime reduction strategies with the use of technology." (This apparently includes "Stingray" cell-tower simulators, which HPD doesn't need a warrant to use. How's that for community-based policing?)
McClelland has also pushed for outfitting officers with body cameras.
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