The Houston Chronicle recently reported on perhaps the biggest failure by a Houston area suburb to foster a better police-citizen relationship in recent memory. La Marque’s police chief, Randall Aragon, has instructed the city’s officers to use a “pro-arrest” policy when dealing with littering violations. From the article:
The new get-tough policy aims to cut violent crime in La Marque by eliminating the petty crimes, Police Chief Randall Aragon said.
“When you take care of the little things, the big things start falling in place,” Aragon said.
If there is a littering problem that needs to be addressed, that’s one thing. However, the story goes on to mention in the previous six months, only one littering ticket has been written. Count it: one. Also to note is that littering is a class C misdemeanor, meaning it is not eligible to be punished with a jail sentence (that being reserved for class B misdemeanors and higher).
Is it any wonder why the reputation of so many of Houston’s suburb city police departments is so low? La Marque is only the tip of the iceberg. Ask around what people think of the police departments of Jersey Village, Bellaire, West University, Tomball, Conroe, Katy, Pasadena, Baytown, and Humble. Just to name a few. Hopefully most of them, and Houston itself, will not so eagerly adopt policies like this one doomed to tarnish the reputation of La Marque’s police department for years, and make “La Marque’s finest” impossible to say with a straight face.