Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas City police using city code to clean out blighted area | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "TEXAS CITY — A specially trained squad of police officers recently descended on one of the most blighted, crime-ridden areas of Texas City.

Instead of kicking down doors earlier this month, the officers knocked at homes in the Chelsea subdivision, which city officials say is infamous for its crack houses and yards piled with debris and old cars.

Eight officers are spearheading an experiment aimed at improving conditions in the community by enforcing city codes.

The city replaced civilian code enforcement officers with police officers after finding that residents tended to ignore civilian officials, who must go through a lengthy process to force compliance, said George Fuller, city director of community development.

Police officers can issue a ticket on the spot or make an arrest if needed, Fuller said.

'It's a very unique approach to a common problem,' he said. 'We're just trying a pilot program to see if it works.'"

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