LUBBOCK, Texas – Lubbock Police Department Chief Floyd Mitchell sat down with KLBK’s Matt Stell for an interview this week.
Matt: You have been chief of the Lubbock Police Department since November of 2019. What a year and a half it has been since you have been here! Looking back, just over your time of being chief, how has it been?
Mitchell: I think I’ve experienced more in this role than I have from being a police officer over the last 25-plus years. We’ve had some very exhilarating highs and some very tragic lows. Going through this past year within the police department family, my staff, and all the members of the Lubbock Police Department, both sworn and non-sworn, have risen to the occasion.
Matt: As chief, how do you keep the morale up amongst your officers and amongst the staff here at LPD after what’s been such a trying year?
Mitchell: You know it’s difficult. We try to make sure that we are communicating and that’s one of the areas that we all can improve in and I know that’s difficult. Right now, we’re in the budget process and one of the things you talk about is morale. When we look at the pay and benefits for officers, that is a key point that we are trying to address here in Lubbock with our police department. When you look at other police departments that are similarly situated, we are trailing them. One of the things that we’re going to try to do and the city manager and the council have also indicated that they want to do is look at our pay and benefits for our police officers.
Matt: In 2020, the homicide numbers were off the charts. We talked a little bit about it in middle of the year, but after me and you spoke in May of 2020, the numbers just kept rising.
Mitchell: Violent crime went up exponentially across the United States and we experienced that here in Lubbock as well. Our violent crime, murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults went up nine percent here in Lubbock. When you look at that number and you look at our homicides, they more than doubled. Domestic violence was a large part of it. Everyone’s cooped up because of COVID. We we’re kept in small spaces and tempers begin to flare. We have a crime element here in regards to the sale and distribution of drugs. We have a gang problem here but we have some outstanding officers in our crime suppression unit. We have some outstanding officers in our Texas Anti-Gang unit that are continuing to fight these crimes. When you look at the numbers this year, specifically in homicides or murders, we are trending down from the same time period we were in last year. The two categories that exceeded and that we are trending up in this year as compared to last year happens to be sexual assaults or rapes and robberies.
Matt: How do you feel about the department’s outreach to our minority communities here?
Mitchell: In Lubbock, I sit in on just about every meeting there is with 100 Black Men of West Texas. I had conversations with the president of the NAACP. Me and now chief Raymond Mendoza from the Lubbock Independent School District sit down and talk to the Latino community to try to make sure that we are reaching out to them as well, as we are to some of the other black and brown communities. I think we’re doing a good job but there’s always room for improvement, always. 100 percent.
Matt: In the last year, Chief, what have you learned about yourself?
Mitchell: You know, that’s a tough question right there. I think that you surround yourself with good people and I think I have done that. I have some very smart assistant chiefs and commanders on this police department. We have some very smart supervisors, and I think if I continue to provide them with the resources they need, they will continue to do a job. What I’ve learned about myself is to just just stay the course. There are going to be rough spots and there’s going to be ups and downs. But if you stay the course, you will get to where you want to be, I think for me personally, I keep reminding myself that hey, we have a good plan. Just stick with the plan and hang in there.