Owing to illness, the monthly Men's Breakfast has been suspended until further notice. Visit the Men's Breakfast Report Archive for reports on previous meetings.
Men's Breakfast, October 2017
The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, October 14th with Raymond Garivey, the new Freeport Police Chief. Raymond was raised in Rosenberg and has spent twenty six years as a policeman. He spent several years in Pasadena and came to Freeport with Chief Pennington when Pennington was hired as Freeport police chief. When Pennington took a job in San Antonio, Garivey was promoted to Chief.
The Freeport Police Department has twenty-six officers. This allows them to patrol the city at all times and usually have a patrol car in each ward. Several of the officers are detectives charged with solving crimes. Raymond says that his department has a low turnover compared to other departments in the area. This implies that morale is high in the department.
One of the things discussed is cameras. All officers now have body cameras. These are turned on when an officer begins an interaction with a member of the public. This actually causes the camera to start archiving the video since the saved video starts two minutes before the camera was started. The cameras help keep everyone’s story straight, both the officer’s and the citizen’s.
There are also street cameras at most important intersections in the city. These are capable of reading license plates. They are useful for capturing stolen cars and catching fleeing suspects. Raymond says that there is not constant surveillance and that fears of Big Brother are overblown.
One type of crime discussed was drug dealers. The detection of drug houses is usually due to a neighbor’s complaints. Once a drug house is suspected the drug task force takes over. The task force consists of one or two officers from each local department. The task force makes buys and collects evidence before raiding the house.
One aspect of the drug raids is civil forfeiture. This allows the department to keep any property seized if it is believed to have been used in the commission of a felony. This includes drugs, cash, automobiles and real estate. Civil forfeiture has led to abuses in other cities where police have used it to seize property where there is little evidence of its use in a crime, but the owners were too intimidated to fight back in court. Raymond says that this does not occur in local departments since the district attorney, Jerrie Yenne, does not allow seizures unless there is very good evidence that the article was used in a crime.
Another way that police can persecute citizens is by excessive arrests to make money for the city; Ferguson, Missouri was a notorious example. Raymond said that fines are a very small part of the city budget and he has never been pressured by the city manager to increase arrests in order to get more revenue for the city.
Another problem is homelessness. Raymond says that there is a tent city behind Baywood where homeless people live. These people often engage in petty crimes and a woman engages in prostitution. Raymond said that the Salvation Army acts a magnet for these people because of its policies. He also said that Freedom House also attracts homeless people but does not cause problems because it requires residents to remain on the premises during the day. Raymond also said that if one of the street people expresses a desire to be in Houston instead of Freeport, he will spend $200 on taxi fare to take him to Houston to get him out of the city.
The members of the group had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast. The next meeting will be November 11th.