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Wednesday, January 26, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 81

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EDITORIAL BOARD

John Harp                                 Ed De La Garza 
Jason Caesar Consolacion     Jim Parsons 


To tell or not to tell ... the HPD

Mixed facts. Misunderstood policies. Untrue statements. Bogus allegations.

It sounds like a front page story for the National Enquirer or an episode of Mysteries and Scandals.

However, it's the top story in today's Cougar.

UH President Arthur K. Smith has released a statement claiming that UH Police Chief George Hess was never fired for reporting a crime to the District Attorney, an act that went against a new police instated by the University in July 1999.

We all know the story already, but the facts remain misconstrued. Many questions still lie concerning the handling of the whole ordeal.

For example, why was Hess told not to do his job? According to Smith, Hess was asked not to report the crime of Cougar football player Michael DeRouselle because it was not necessary to do so.

In other words (and this is not a direct quote from Smith), it's OK for a crime to be committed on the campus of this University without notifying the District Attorney.

Also, why would UH enact a policy that says certain crimes do not have to be reported to the police? And, if eventually reported, why would the report have to go through certain channels before reaching the Houston Police Department?

According to Smith, the revised policy would allow the University to offer the highest level of protection for students, faculty and staff of UH.

UH is not required to have a police department, but to ensure the highest level of safety, the University chooses to have one.

Nevertheless, a crime of such magnitude, whether it was committed by a professional football player or a store clerk, would require punishment to the extent of jail time. The UHPD cannot be the highest authority in a matter like this. Just because the crime was committed on campus doesn't mean the HPD has no business being involved.

Smith will argue that DeRouselle did not commit a "crime." He will back his assessment by stating that the money DeRouselle pocketed from selling his stolen books was reimbursed.

So what we gather is that if a hoodlum who robs a bank is caught by the police, his crime is considered non-existent if he reimburses the bank.

There are more questions concerning Hess' statements and the University's actions. Will they ever be answered? Hopefully. Just don't ask the HPD.

They wouldn't know.
 

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