By George Slaughter
David Cuevas, the organization’s president, said in a memo to Mayor Chuck Brawner and the Katy City Council that the organization “wholeheartedly supports and endorses” Diaz’s appointment.
Diaz will succeed Bill Hastings, who retired in January to run for mayor against Brawner.
The council appointed Assistant Chief Tim Tyler to be acting chief, pending a permanent selection. Tyler applied for the job and was among the five finalists.
Hastings has expressed his support for Tyler, but said Friday that he has always enjoyed a working relationship with Diaz, which has gone on for about 25 years. Diaz has worked from an office at the Katy Police Department headquarters for the past several years.
Last month, Brawner decided to nominate Diaz for the permanent job. The police chief, like the fire chief and city administrator, report to the mayor but the council must approve their appointments.
But at the February 25 council meeting, Ward B Council Member Jimmy Mendez said he had received pushback from constituents expressing concern both over the selection and its timing. Given that the city took a relatively long time to hire a fire chief, he said then, the city should be more deliberate about finding a police chief. Mendez “tagged,” or postponed, the vote until Monday’s meeting. Some citizens who spoke at that meeting also expressed concern about the process and wondered why an internal candidate wasn’t nominated.
Brawner said candidates took a written test and underwent a peer review in which they were interviewed by a panel of three chiefs and a former chief from smaller police agencies in the Houston area. Brawner said it was a common practice with promotions that a peer review process is used.
Brawner has said council members have seen “everything we have available” on Diaz and that some council members have met privately with him.
Hastings declined comment Friday on the process used to select Diaz.
Cuevas applauded the selection process.
“The selection panel was fair and it absolutely found the best candidate for the position,” Cuevas said. “Mayor Brawner and the panel should be applauded for the selection of Noe Diaz for chief of police.”
Diaz has been a Texas Ranger since January 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile. He began his career as a correctional officer in 1986 with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He went on to become a deputy constable in Harris County Precinct 5 in 1994, then joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1996.
Diaz earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice/political science in 2011 from the University of Houston-Downtown, and his master’s degree in criminology in 2014 from Lamar University. He completed the FBI National Academy in 2016.
Diaz and Tyler were two of the five finalists among 76 candidates who applied. Other finalists were Brian Davis, deputy sheriff and training coordinator, Waller County Sheriff’s office; Paul Follis, commander, Houston Police Department, and Bryon Woytek, patrol captain, Katy Police Department.