Law Enforcement Unions Slam Harris County DA

Organizations representing some 10,000 Harris County law enforcement officers banded together on Tuesday to denounce District Attorney Pat Lykos as being soft on crime.
Thu December 1, 2011 2:10 am
AP

Organizations representing some 10,000 Harris County law enforcement officers banded together on Tuesday to denounce District Attorney Pat Lykos as being soft on crime, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The organizations held a press conference after DA Pat Lykos’ Monday announcement that she would seek a second term. “We believe the district attorney is ignoring the laws passed by the Legislature. Valid criminal complaints brought by professional law enforcement officers are ignored or dismissed,” Eric Batton, vice president of the Harris County Deputies’ Organization, said at the presser.

The organizations delivered Lykos with a vote of no confidence, which the Chronicle’s James Pinkerton dubbed a “a rare public fissure in the traditionally close relationship between police and prosecutors.” Lykos brushed off the criticisms, holding that the unions have never been in her camp.

In particular, police criticized her unwillingness to prosecute suspects found with “trace elements” of drugs. The office’s new policy is to cite people found with drug residue of “less than one-100th of a gram” with a misdemeanor. “This is crack cocaine. People will sell their grandma’s wheelchair to get a crack rock,” said Ray Hunt, vice president of the Houston Police Officers Union.

Pinkerton wrote that Lykos “wants to go after cartels, not crack pipes.” “My focus is on dangerous criminals, not just getting arrests for the sake of having statistics,” Lykos said.  

“We are not ignoring state law. What I want, is to have the drug dealer arrested, and to have the person who supplied the drugs to the dealer arrested, and then go all the way up that vicious snake, until we get to the top,” Lykos told KUHF News.

Some of the criticism could stem from Lykos’ statement that she does not want the Houston Police Department to be in charge of their own Breath Alcohol Testing vans, after reported problems with the testing labs. “Pat Lykos has made herself more vulnerable with the BAT van stuff. Surely someone senses an opportunity,” Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner wrote at Off The Kuff on Monday.

My Fox Houstons Isiah Carey spoke to Nation of Islam’s Robert Muhammad, who saw something else at work. “This is all politics,” Muhammad said. “They now have to prove and obey the law, and every DA should’ve been doing that

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