The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is calling on Houston city and police officials to ensure that the upcoming negotiations over the city’s police union contract, which is set to expire at the end of the year, are held in public and allow for input from members of the community.
In a letter sent today to Mayor Sylvester Turner, Chief Art Acevedo and Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi, ACLU of Texas legal director Andre Segura states that not only are public deliberations over the contract required by the Texas Local Government Code, doing so is also a good policy that serves key reform issues of transparency and accountability. The letter also points to provisions in the current contract which undermine community trust and create barriers to meaningful reform by shielding officers from accountability for misconduct.
From the letter:
“Nothing in the law prohibits the City from making its negotiations with the Police Officers Union public, and doing so would be an important step towards accountability and transparency in the Houston Police. The only seeming obstacle is the Houston Police Department’s and the City’s willingness to answer to the public they serve. We urge you to makes these deliberations open to the public.”
The full letter is available below.