The Harker Heights Police Department recently earned a place in the coveted ranks of law enforcement agencies, obtaining “recognized” status from the Texas Police Chiefs Association Law Enforcement Recognition Program.
The program evaluates a police department’s compliance with 165 Best Business Practices for Texas Law Enforcement, said former Southlake police chief Marlin Price, who presented a plaque to Police Chief Mike Gentry at the Jan. 8 Harker Heights City Council meeting.
“This program has become the new gold standard for professional law enforcement in this state,” Price said.
Heights became the 67th department out of 2,800 in Texas to receive the award.
Led by Lt. Loretta Fox and Sgt. Roosevelt Wilson Jr., the Harker Heights Police Department began the voluntary process more than a year ago. They did a complete audit of all the department’s policies, procedures, operations and training to ensure it measured up to the Best Business Practices standards.
“These standards address the full range of law enforcement duty, everything from the use of force to the protection of citizen rights, the pursuits, patrol, investigative operations, even property and evidence management,” Price said.
The process culminated in December when two police chiefs from other parts of the state conducted independent reviews of the department’s internal operations. They took the results back to the association’s Recognition Program, where a panel of nine police chiefs voted unanimously to name the Heights department “recognized.”
Gentry gave credit for the award to the entire police force and praised the many officers who were in attendance at the award ceremony.
“I wanted them to be here because I wanted you to know that it is because of them that we have the ability to achieve this goal,” Gentry told the council.
The program will review the department again in four years, Price said.