Harold Hurtt

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Harold Hurtt
Born Campbell County, Virginia
Police career
Department Houston Police Department
Country 2004-2009
Years of service 1977 - Present
Rank Phoenix PD Patrolman - 1968
chief of the Oxnard, California, Police Department - 1992
Phoenix Police Chief - 1998
4 Gold Stars.svgHouston Police Chief - 2004

Harold L. Hurtt is an Assistant Director at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the Office of State, Local and Tribal Coordination, which consists of outreach programs and communications coordination between various outside law enforcement agencies.[1] Hurtt previously served as police chief of the Houston Police Department from 2004 until 2009.[2]


In 1992, he became Chief of Police for the Oxnard Police Department in California, and then in 1998 was appointed Chief of the Phoenix Police Department.[3] In 2004, Hurtt was selected as police chief of the Houston Police Department until his resignation in 2009. In 2010, Hurtt was appointed to lead the OSLTC of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.[4]


Hurtt earned a B.A. in sociology from Arizona State University in 1977 and an M.A. in organizational management from the University of Phoenix in 1991.[5]

Career highlights[edit]

Dress code and Facial beard controversy[edit]

Shortly after taking office in Houston, Hurtt required police to cover up tattoos with long sleeves, if needed. Additionally, he required all facial hair to be removed, citing that it would prevent gas masks to be used effectively.[6] This resulted in a group of African American officers filing a lawsuit claiming that they have skin conditions called Pseudofolliculitis barbae or Acne keloidalis nuchae that makes it painful to shave.[7] The city supported Chief Hurtt's new policy and approved $150,000 for legal defense against the suit.[6] The suit was eventually tossed out.[8]


Houston became the first major city in the nation to fully arm the entire police department with tasers with an authorization of $4.7 million in November 2004, the result of a controversial shooting the previous year.[9] Chief Hurtt hoped to reduce police shootings as he had as Chief of the Phoenix Police Department.[9]

Evidence facility compromised[edit]

Due to several cases of missing evidence, including missing drugs and guns, Hurtt eventually ordered the construction of a new evidence building, which was completed in 2009.[10][11]

Crime Lab[edit]

Chief Hurtt was initially brought in to help reorganize a crime lab after scandals that left many cases suspect.[12] Within two years, the crime lab regained its accreditation and returned to full operation.[13]

Mobility Response Team[edit]

On July 2, 2007, Houston Mayor White and Chief Hurtt unveiled the Mobility Response Team (MRT). The new teams were designed to respond to various traffic issues around the Downtown Houston area and free up police officers who would otherwise direct traffic around accidents and major events.[14] The department was started with 21 personnel and an annual $1.8 million budget.[15] On March 3, 2009 March 3, a series of investigative reports by KTRK's Wayne Dolcefino questioned effectiveness, ethics, and work practices of the Mobility Response Team. After the report, one supervisor had been reassigned and the entire MRT unit faced an internal affairs investigation.[16]


Hurtt has faced criticism for his policies condoning illegal immigration. These policies included refusing to hand over arrested illegal aliens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), causing some to designate Houston a sanctuary city.[17] In 2006, Houston police officer Rodney Johnson was shot four times in the head during a routine traffic stop by a once-deported illegal immigrant who had been arrested and released three times in the city.

His widow, Joslyn Johnson, herself a sergeant in the Houston Police Department, filed suit against Hurtt, the city and the police department, stating that the department's failure to discover the gunman's immigration status and report him to federal authorities enabled him to stay "at large" in the country. Hurtt's policies have been blamed for enabling illegal immigrants to kill two police officers and seriously injure another in Phoenix, Arizona before he left in 2005.[18]


It was reported that during the 2009 Houston Mayoral Election, candidates Peter Hoyt Brown, Annise Parker, and Roy Morales said that they would replace Hurtt if they become mayor. Upon Annise Parker's win, Hurtt tendered his resignation on December 15, which became effective on December 30. Hurtt was replaced with interim police chief, Charles McClelland, a 33 year veteran of the force.[19][20][21]


  1. ^ Hurtt Hired by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Updated: Friday, 25 Jun 2010, 3:03 PM CDT
  2. ^ "Today is the last day on the job for Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  3. ^ HADLY, SCOTT; CHI, CHRIS (17 January 1998). "Oxnard Police Chief May Leave". Retrieved 14 July 2016 – via LA Times. 
  4. ^ "Office of State, Local and Tribal Coordination (OSLTC)". www.ice.gov. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  6. ^ a b Connelly, Richard (11 June 2008). "Hippie Cops and Loan Sharks". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  7. ^ Shay, Miya. "City council to decided if tax dollars should be spend to defend against a lawsuit over a police beard policy". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Shay, Miya. "Harris County to pay $400,000 to deputy in beard lawsuit settlement". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Questions grow over HPD's use of Taser guns". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "HPD's new property room pleases chief". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  11. ^ New Property Room Erases Police Problems of Past
  12. ^ "Mayor White gets high marks for first 100 days". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Harold L. Hurtt Senior Leadership Council Principal retrieved 5/1/2010 from www.hillardheintze.com
  14. ^ http://www.aabctx.com/portal/printnews.asp?id=57
  15. ^ "Houston's Mobility Response Team to Help Ease Traffic Congestion - HPM Support". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  16. ^ Dolcefino, Wayne. "Mobility response team's fuzzy math". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "White House Picks Critic of Local Immigration Enforcement for Key Role at ICE". Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  18. ^ Widow of Houston Officer Says Immigration Policies Left by ICE Official Endanger Force Fox News Channel Retrieved June 28, 2010
  19. ^ "How mayoral candidates say they'll keep Houston safe". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  20. ^ "Parker: Chief search starts with clean slate". Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  21. ^ [1]