Traditionally, the primary role of police officers was to act as law enforcers. However, there are greater expectations today for Houston Police Department officers.
"The role of a police officer," said Houston Chief of Police Clarence O'Neal Bradford, "is to be a planner, problem solver, community organizer and law enforcement officer."
Bradford visited the University of Houston Wednesday as a part of a series of events sponsored by African American Studies to commemorate Black History Month.
Bradford said in a recent news release he believes that by fostering cooperative relationships between police officers and the citizens, officers serve as the key to public safety.
He said that the relationship between the children of this city and the police is the most essential partnership. It is with this philosophy that Bradford implemented several programs designed to bond police and public.
One of Bradford's first actions as Chief of Police was to establish a Youth Police Advisory Committee. This committee consists of 18-20 teens from high schools throughout the Houston Independent School District who meet quarterly with him to discuss issues.
Other programs he has introduced are the Junior Citizen's Police Academy, which allows high school students to learn about the functions of the Police Department, and the Technology to Recover Abducted Kids (TRAK), which is used to distribute information about a missing child to the media and other law enforcement agencies.
Bradford began his career with the Houston Police Department in 1979. He was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police in June 1991. In January 1996, he was assigned to manage the West Patrol Comman, and on Nov. 7, 1996, he was officially nominated as Chief of Police.