PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s an idea that’s almost unheard of in Texas, police chiefs running for election.
A controversial bill filed in Austin could lead to just that.
We’re used to campaign signs for politicians but not police chiefs.
There are only a handful of cities across the state that elects police chiefs and none in North Texas, but that could soon change.
Carlos Quintanilla has been at the center of protests over police shootings in Irving and recently Grapevine, but says his loud complaints rarely rattle police chiefs.
“It’s very difficult to put pressure on a police department chief. They feel protected, and they feel buffered,” says Carlos Quintanilla of Accion America.
Quintanilla supports a bill filed by State Senator Don Huffines which would require cities with more than 5000 people to hold elections every two years for police chiefs.
Many times police chiefs who have a perspective shared by a minority, are not accountable to anyone.
The bill could make police chiefs vulnerable to getting the boot from voters for high crime rates or controversial officer involved shootings like Ruben Garcia in Euless and Jason Harrison in Dallas.
“I think this bill is horrible,” says Pete Schulte.
Former police officer and criminal defense attorney Pete Schulte says it would create a revolving door in an important law enforcement position.
“You have police officers who’ve worked themselves up the ranks to be a police chief and all of a sudden they have become a politician.”
Dallas City Councilman Phillip Kingston says police chiefs have no business being politicians.
“That’s an incredibly complex job,” says Kingston. “We don’t want to turn our professional public safety officers into two bit politicians running for office every two years. That’s my job.”
CBS 11 was unable to get a comment from Don Huffines the state senator from Dallas who authored this bill.
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