Criminal activity and public safety issues never take time off. Neither does Assistant Police Chief Ban Tien with the Houston Police Department. Chief Tien recently gave a 3 a.m. media briefing in the rain for an incident involving a distraught man allegedly threatening suicide. The crisis escalated with gunfire between the man and a responding officer.
It’s a dangerous reality that situations can develop at any time and as an HPD senior leader, Tien thrusts himself into preparation and learning for himself and his officers. He has to – the stakes are always high.
Background experience and strength for the job
Tien holds one of the most important law enforcement jobs in the city. As Assistant Chief for Homeland Security Command, he oversees crowd control for demonstrations, leads HPD’s criminal intelligence, all tactical operations (including SWAT), port security, and air support to safeguard the community and region. “We have a great working relationship with all agencies – we prepare in advance before crises occur,” said Tien. “I try to replicate this model in the communities we serve too.”
A U.S. Army combat veteran who served multiple deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, he is also a former Drug Enforcement Administration special agent. The 23-year veteran of HPD represented HPD in Kosovo to share his expertise in intelligence led risk assessment in major policing events. “I’m responsible for security for two international airports – so I firmly believe in sharing information and strong collaboration across federal, state, and local levels,” said Tien.
Tien has been operational commander for major public events in Houston. He was on the ground during civil unrest after George Floyd’s death, led the planning and execution of security for President George H. W. Bush’s public repose and funeral which involved 12,000 attendees and multiple dignitaries. He developed the security plan for a 2018 Trump Rally at Toyota Center. His career with HPD has spanned divisions in Northeast, Central, and Eastside to serving as a lieutenant in Clear Lake division.
Leading Westchase area public safety
In addition to his HPD responsibilities, Tien serves as the HPD coordinator for the Westchase District Patrol. “Our partnership with management districts like Westchase is very important,” said Tien. “HPD cannot do everything and be everywhere. We rely on management districts to help us. Our work together is critical since resources are limited.”
“Westchase’s commitment to the community makes our work a true collaboration to mitigate and reinforce public safety. It helps us prevent crime and improve quality of life in the region. I want to make our partnership better.”
He is focused on the community’s expectations. “There’s a lot of violent crime happening across the country,” said Tien. “With that comes a fear of crime. That’s what I wanted to address.”
Tien stresses that understanding the crime triangle can assuage fears. “All crimes require three things to happen: location, opportunity, victim/offender,” said Tien. “If you remove just one of these, it can’t happen. Prevention is always key.”