By George Slaughter
The Katy Police Department Friday achieved “Recognized Law Enforcement Agency” status from the Texas Police Chiefs Association.
The award is part of a voluntary program where Texas police departments demonstrate their compliance with law enforcement best practices.
Mayor Bill Hastings said he was very proud of the department for achieving this award, and for following through on the work it take to apply for it.
“This is a big deal,” Police Chief Noe Diaz said.
For Katy, the award has been several months in the making. The department in April performed a self-review of its policies, procedures, facilities and operations. The department then prepared proof of compliance for each of those practices. Texas law enforcement professionals developed and identified these practices to help agencies provide better service, reduce risk, and protect people’s rights.
The department requested an outside audit and review of these policies and procedures in October. Police chiefs from other areas of Texas performed the review, and then sent the results to the Texas association’s recognition committee for final analysis and decision.
Diaz said the auditor, who is the Mount Pleasant assistant police chief, told him that the Katy audit was the first one he performed in which everything was correct on the first try. Diaz said this auditor has performed 11 other audits.
The association performed an on-site inspection Friday at police headquarters, 5456 Franz Road. The inspection was the final step in the process before notifying Katy that its department achieved this recognition.
The association recognizes the “Recognized” status for a four-year period, during which the department must submit an annual report that shows compliance with selected performance-related standards.
Noe Diaz thanked Michelle Miller, information technology program manager, and Tim Tyler, assistant chief, for their coordination of the application process. He also thanked Mayor Bill Hastings, the Katy City Council, and City Administrator Byron Hebert for their support.
“It was a total team effort,” Diaz said. “We have a tremendous staff.”
Hastings said Tyler approached him with the idea of applying for the award in October 2018, when he was still chief, and Hastings encouraged him to go ahead with the process. Hastings retired as police chief in January 2019 and Diaz became chief in March. Hastings was elected mayor in May.
“Tim did an excellent job,” Hastings said.
Diaz also said the award was one way to show that the police department appreciates the Katy community’s support. He said the police approaches the public with dignity, fairness, and respect.
“This community loves the police, and the police love the community,” Diaz said. “They (the public) can be assured that they have a robust, top-tier agency.”
Diaz said one way the police keeps its performance so robust is through the use of a program, acquired earlier this year, that gives “pop quizzes” to officers. The questions address new or updated laws, and Diaz said it’s important that officers be up to speed as times change.
The award will be presented at next Katy City Council meeting, which is set for Monday afternoon on Zoom. The association will also recognize the department in April 2021 at the Texas Police Chiefs Association annual conference.
The association, established in 1958, is a statewide law enforcement administrator’s organization. According to its website, it promotes, encourages, and advances the professional development of police chiefs and senior police management in Texas.