Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Captain Morris from Houston’s South Central Police Department. South Central covers neighborhoods in/around Midtown, University of Houston, Riverside, Hermann Park, Southampton, Oak Lawn and Eastwood. Very nice with lots of enthusiasm, here is the interview with Captain Morris…
Eric: Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?
Captain Morris laughs…
Captain Morris: I am not sure I’ve been mistaken for a celebrity.
Eric: Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
Captain Morris: No. In fact, I bring my pens to work, the Sharpie pens; those are the ones that don’t bleed.
(I thought I would have an opportunity to perform a citizen’s arrest)
Eric: What song best describes your work ethic?
Captain Morris: Skyscraper by Demi Lovato because it talks about rising up and not letting obstacles get you down
Eric: If you could address hundreds of residents in the community using a bullhorn, what would you say?
Captain Morris: I would let the community know that we need their help. We are here to work with them and improve the quality of life here in the neighborhood, but they need to contact us and let us know where crime is occurring because we cannot be everywhere. They have to be the eyes and ears of their neighborhood. Call us, call crime stoppers anonymously or come to the station and talk to us. We are never going to see all the issues that need addressing without their assistance.
Eric: Are there forums or neighborhood meetings that residents can come to and share their concerns?
Captain Morris: Yes! We have a monthly Positive Interaction Program meeting (PIP) that occurs every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7pm here at South Central – 2202 St Emanuel St. Visitors have a chance to ask questions or submit forms pertaining to crime or quality of life issues. I along with the other Officers process these requests and address them. We also have a Differential Response Team (DRT) that specializes in dealing with issues related to code enforcements and city regulations.
Eric: Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know?
Captain Morris: Most people don’t know I enjoy staying up all night.
Eric: What made you decide to become a police officer?
Captain Morris: I had never thought about becoming a police officer until I took a criminal justice class while in undergrad. I found it very interesting. Prior to taking the class, I had this perception that a police officer is someone who spends most of their time chasing criminals. In that class, I learned that there are boundaries, there are rules. When I finished that class, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve been an Officer for 15 years now and highly encourage people to find out more about joining the police department. Initially it was never my intent, but it has turned out to be a very rewarding career.
Eric: In the past 3 years, what is a major decision that HPD has made that has made you very proud?
Captain Morris: Scenario based training. We are not just sitting in a classroom learning techniques or discussing ‘what if’ scenarios; we are actually getting out in the field and incorporating ‘real life’ scenarios that can happen while on patrol. For example, car chases and active shooters using Simunition Ammunition.
Eric: What is one of your favorite quotes?
Captain Morris: “If you don’t do it right do it over”
Eric: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
Captain Morris: Ronald Reagan because he was able to accomplish a lot of things on a bi-partisan level that have benefited us today.
Eric: If you had to take a leave of absence for one year from HPD, and could say a few sentences to your Officers, what would you say?
Captain Morris: I would share with my Officers that what they do enforces what they believe the Houston Police Department should stand for. Their actions need to be in accordance with what HPD stands for and the values of the Department. If they base their actions on Integrity, Honor and Respect which are the core values of the department, then they can’t go wrong. Lastly, don’t be afraid to have fun.