The Rockport City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, July 28, heard a presentation about moving the administrative responsibility for code enforcement activities from the Building and Development Department to the Rockport Police Department (RPD).
City Manager Kevin Carruth said, “We’ve been struggling with how best to make code enforcement more efficient and effective.”
He noted many other municipalities have that function under the police department.
“They’re out patrolling all day and can identify problem areas,” said Carruth. “It’s also kind of like community policing.”
RPD Chief Greg Stevens said it’s not unusual for police departments to carry on this role.
“We did it in Lubbock for many years,” he said. “The objective is to address code enforcement.
“When we do run into a problem house we can deal with it in a team effort.”
Public Works Director Mike Donoho said having code enforcement reporting to the RPD will improve efficiencies and effectiveness.
Mayor Pat Rios noted Portland and Corpus Christi have its code enforcement function under the police department, as well.
Donoho said the city currently has only one code enforcement officer, and one open code enforcement officer position.
“The RPD will point out offenses (they observe while on patrol) to the code enforcement officers,” he said.
It was noted the city has a lot of code violations at this time, with many of those violations stemming from Hurricane Harvey.
Carruth said the same process of dealing with code violations will continue to be used, but just under a different administrative setup.
Benefits listed for making code enforcement an RPD function, which was provided in backup material, include:
• More enforcement support for codes officers
• Consolidation of related efforts
• Efficiency – patrol officers can identify codes issues and more quickly refer them to codes officer for action
• Better focus on code issues
• Increased accountability for codes officers and for case management
No action was taken on the matter, but council is expected to vote on the change in the near future.