Thursday, August 30, 2018

There's no brakeman on this train

I smell a dirty rotten rat. Its a smell we've learned to live with because we have been told that smell is normal. I think its high time we decided it is not. The issue involves the stranglehold Harris County has on the Baytown jail. Something here defies logic and yes, logic is always a conundrum when it comes to the rules.

Here is the big question: Why doesn't Harris County pick up the prisoners in the Baytown jail? Why do Baytown police officers make the 2-3 hour round-trip visit to Houston 2 to 5 times a day to transfer prisoners when they could be working our streets? Why didn't our "new" jail of 15 or so years qualify as a Harris County jail annex when most of us thought it would?

How come the 65 million dollar future police department building doesn't include this resource-robbing issue? Over the years I've asked this question and it has always been explained that there is nothing BPD can do to alleviate the problem. I'm patient, but does it seem logical that we continue this practice to the waste of our police patrols and citizen's tax dollars.

I do not blame BPD. I blame the current system and Harris County and personally, I do not care how other Harris County cities handle this constant drain. We are on the far side of the ship channel and I believe our resources are better managed when we have trained officers on the beat; not taxiing prisoners up to 5 times a day.

I am a fan of our city and our police department. Since 1974 when I moved here after leaving the Service, I have never had a negative instance with BPD. I also support our city and wish it to be a great place to raise a family. Our police training programs are top notch and we train cops from all over the country. I want it to continue to be professional and leaders in law enforcement, instead of prisoner Uber drivers.

Maybe this is just the way it is done. Everyone under Harris County and Sheriff Ed Gonzales do it one way and that's just the way its going to be; I don't know. Maybe it can't be done another way, but let's get real. We just tragically lost 2 top cops with many years experience. They cannot and will not be replaced using "shake and bake" cops, which is something only little towns do anyway. No, it takes years to get cops like these replaced, so why are we toting prisoners up to 5 times a day to Houston?

Maybe our police chief and Mayor need to sit down with the honorable Sylvester Turner and get the skinny on what Baytown needs to do with its jail to stop this waste of resources. Maybe the citizens of this great city need to let their voices be heard. Maybe that 65 million bucks needs to include some provisions that aren't planned. If our jail is certified as a Harris County jail annex, we would suddenly have 2 to 5 more cops free to patrol the streets and stop all this red light running and car stealing. Does all of this sound unreasonable?

Look. I am not suggesting we all gather at city hall with masks, signs, and throw smoke bombs. I am suggesting each and every person contact your councilperson and inquire why we are continuing this at tax payers expense. It is illogical and should be addressed by citizen input.

I love this town. I do not ever plan on leaving. I am asking for your help to set this situation to the advantage of Baytown and its LEO's.

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