Clarence O'Neal Bradford, known as C.O. "Clarence" Bradford (and C.O. "Brad" Bradford during his campaign for Harris Country District Attorney), is a Houston City Councilmember-Elect, a former Chief of Police of Houston, Texas and lost as the Democratic Party candidate for District Attorney of Harris County, Texas in 2008.
While Chief of Police for the Houston Police Department, Clarence Bradford held one of the longest tenures as Chief of Police. He also has the distinction of being one of only two police chiefs to be appointed by two Houston mayors. Both Mayor Bob Lanier and Mayor Lee Brown selected him as their Chief of Police. Bradford managed a department with 5,000 officers and 2,000 civilian personnel, an annual budget of $500 million, and a population of 2 million people over 600 square miles. Bradford, an attorney, served 24 years with the Houston Police Department, including seven years as Police Chief. He holds a criminal justice degree, public administration degree, and law degree, and is also a graduate of the FBI Academy's NEI Program, as well as Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for State and Local Executives.
During his tenure as police chief, Mr Bradford was investigated for his involvement in the problems at the Houston Crime Lab. Because of contamination of evidence at the crime lab, a number of innocent people were jailed and spent years behind bars for crimes they did not committ as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The Houston Police Officers Union later admitted that Chief Bradford was aware of the contamination at the Houston Crime Lab for 5-years and chose not to act. Over 400 cases had to be retested to confirm their accuracy, including at least one death row case.
During his tenure as Police Chief, the citizens' fear of crime and public safety concerns went from a high of 59%, constantly downward, to only 10% when he left office, as documented by Dr. Stephen Kleinberg of Rice University - however, the actual number of violent and nonviolent crimes increased above the city's growth rate of 6% a year during his tenure, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
On November 3, 2009 Bradford was elected to the Houston City Council from At-large Position 4. We will take office January 2, 2010.