Actions to take regarding allegations of racial profiling in the Bellaire Police Department is the subject of the fourth question in InstantnewsBellaire’s Q&A series with Bellaire City Council candidates.
We asked candidates:
In the wake of the Tolan shooting incident early this year, the Bellaire Police Department came under fire for alleged racial profiling. Do you believe changes need to be made at the Bellaire Police Department to address those concerns? If so, what changes would you like to see?
Here are the answers from the two mayoral candidates. Scroll to the bottom for information on the procedures of this Q&A.
Given that Officer Cotton has not had his trial yet and that there is litigation against the City for this incident, I cannot speak to the specifics of this incident or give an opinion.
However, I have lived long enough to know that bad things can sometimes happen to good people. The Tolan shooting was a tragedy both for Robbie Tolan, his family and the entire City of Bellaire. As Mayor and personally, I believe in our judicial system and its ability to resolve conflicts like this in a fair and objective way. Even if I legally could, I would not want to offer an “opinion” that could inadvertantly hurt the City of Bellaire, its citizens or the fairness of the legal process.
In regards to Bellaire’s Police Department, one of the reasons that my husband and I chose to live in Bellaire and raise our family is due to Bellaire’s outstanding emergency personnel (ie, police, fire, and ems) and their quick response. I believe that the majority of Bellaire residents feel the same way.
There is no way that I could know if racial profiling played a role in the shooting of Bellaire resident Robbie Tolan. Perhaps the Mayor knows, but she will not say, I’m sure.
I do know that all departments are underfunded and consequently forced to compromise. The easiest and most productive compromise is staff reductions, either by attrition or lay offs.
Unfortunately, police work is not truck driving or paper shuffling. Police work involves long periods of tedium which can be followed by emergency, adrenalin-producing events. Training and re-training are essential to overcome the hazards of both tedium and emergency.
Many of us are not at our best from time to time. There are distracting family situations, employment frustrations, health problems. Policemen who are not at their best should not be on the street. Their absence should not impose a burden on their colleagues. The department should be fully staffed, so that a cadre of trained, rested, and responsible officers is always on the street.
The reason the Bellaire Police Department is not staffed by the best available?
The reason the Bellaire Police Department is not routinely screened psychologically?
The reason the Bellaire Police Department is not continuously retrained?
The reason the Bellaire Police Department has high turnover?
Management in City Hall is primarily concerned with bean counting: That is, making sure that bond payments are made, payroll is met, and the incessant, continuous demands by the Mayor for ever-lower taxes are at least mollified.
And that is the reason why Robbie Tolan got one in the liver.
In this series, candidates receive questions twice per week and have 24 hours to respond with an answer that is less than 300 words long. The answers publish with no editing. Do you have a question for candidates about Bellaire issues? Please email it to agrant [at] instantnewsbellaire [dot] com.