Handcuffed chief; Houston Chief struggles with fewer officers, more murders.


For the Houston Police Department, today's staffing shortage and rise in the number of violent crimes carries a sense of déjà vu reminiscent of a similar period during the late '80s. A short history lesson about that earlier period of turmoil suggests the way to solve the current problem.

Back then, Mayor Kathy Whitmire wrestled with a city budget crisis that forced a temporary cessation of police cadet classes, a cut in police pay and a badly undermanned force that was overwhelmed by a bloody crime wave that peaked at 608 murders in 1990.

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