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Police chief takes to social media to defend officer - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Police chief takes to social media to defend officer

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 10:25 pm | Updated: 10:48 pm, Fri Jul 25, 2014.

LEAGUE CITY — The city’s police chief took to social media Friday to commend an officer for his “restraint and professionalism” with a man who approached an officer after a traffic stop.

In a post on the League City Police Department’s Facebook page, Chief Michael Kramm described a July 10 incident in the 4400 block of West Main Street. Around 9 a.m., Officer Henry Gonzalez was using radar to track the speed of cars, Kramm said.

The police chief wrote that a man, “someone I will assume is a citizen of our fair city,” approached Hernandez and used a cellphone to record the officer in what Kramm described as an apparent “attempt to catch wrongdoing by the officer.”

“This man crossed a busy four-lane roadway on foot to chastise the officer for enforcing the speed limits and running radar,” Kramm wrote. “He then ridiculed the officer by telling him he was wearing a costume and implied the officer was arrogant because he was doing his job.”

The man earlier had been seen holding a sign to inform passing motorists an officer “was working speed enforcement just up the road,” Kramm wrote.

Hernandez thanked the man for cautioning motorists to drive within the speed limit.

“This officer could have issued a citation to this man for illegally crossing the road,” Kramm wrote. “He could have escalated the situation. But he made a choice not to.”

Kramm said he wrote the social media post to bring attention to the professionalism of the League City Police Department. 

As chief, I get the occasional accolade for the work done by our officers, but the thing that gets out most is the negative publicity,” he said.

He said the incident had resonated with him because of the apparent antagonism of the man who spoke with Hernandez.

“I was taken aback at how this officer was belittled for working radar in a school zone,” Kramm said.

Kramm said Hernandez’s handling of the situation demonstrated the professionalism he expects from all League City officers.

The vast majority of the time, police officers respond with restraint and professionalism, Kramm said. Hernandez’s interaction with the resident on July 10 served as a good example of that, he said. 

Kramm said League City police respond to thousands of  calls a year, as well as conduct thousands of traffic stops.

“There were numerous opportunities for their professionalism to falter,” Kramm said.  

In 2013, the department received 50 complaints, and 39 of them were filed internally, he said.

“Perhaps part of the reason for this low number of external complaints is that we police ourselves so demandingly,” Kramm wrote.

Police declined a request to release patrol car video of the incident that spurred the Facebook post.

Kramm said that was largely to protect the identity of the man he said antagonized Gonzalez. Kramm said he did not want League City residents or supporters of the police department to potentially harass or shame the man.

“You should be able to speak your mind without fear of retribution from fellow citizens,” he said.