02-08 chief harvey-01

Palestine Police Chief Andy Harvey

Editor's note: This is letter to the editor from Police Chief Andy Harvey in response to today's (Saturday's) Herald-Press editorial, "Hurrah for Herrera!" 

The only question reporter Michael Marsh asked me by text was whether  Unidos had endorsed anyone. Here is my response: "There is no endorsement of any candidate. Never has been, never will." That is pretty clear, but was omitted.

The facts:

The Unidos Facebook community page was created by a citizen who helped start the program. This was a way to share information to the Spanish-speaking community.

From the police standpoint, it helps us disseminate information about the city, crime, events, and anything else that you and I may take for granted. Your article was not posted on any website. 

The article ("First Latino seeks council seat," Herald-Press, March 26) was shared on FB several weeks ago but just came to my attention when Maresh's story was published. I do not monitor every post on any city social media networks. I just don't have time for that.

I will, however, take responsibility for this. Although I started a program that was much needed, the day-to-day operations have been taken over by its members. This is a community program, so it should belong to the people.

Unidos is self-funded. The city does not provide funds, other than to support the program like our Citizens on Patrol program or any other outreach we do in the community. Thanks to our community members who contribute to it, Unidos hosts health and safety fairs and other events that add value to our community.

Teachable moment:

This article was shared in the spirit of celebrating the historic moment of an Hispanic running for city council. Unidos members are proud of that. For them, it represents Palestine progressing, and that's a great thing.

Here's the lesson: Although there was never any official endorsement or intent thereof, Unidos failed to manage perception effectively. We should've been better than that. The decision to remove it was the right thing to do.

To be fair, this is a new area, so bumps along the way are expected. How we rebound is what's most important. This is certainly a teachable moment.

Andy Harvey

Chief of Police, Palestine