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Houston mayor Sylvester Turner named former Houston Police Department assistant chief George T. Buenik to lead the city’s Homeland Security office. Buenik served in HPD for 34 years before retiring last year. As Executive Assistant Chief of Police, Buenik supervised numerous operations involving homeland security, cooperation with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, providing security for visiting dignitaries, and serving as chairman of the 2017 Houston Super Bowl Public Safety Committee.

In his new position, Buenik will work with city departments to prepare responses to both natural and man-made disasters, including ensuring that lines of communication to police, fire, emergency medical services, and other other first responders stay open in the event of an emergency.

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“Houston needs someone with strong leadership skills and extensive experience in emergency preparedness and crisis management to lead the Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, especially after Hurricane Harvey and other major events in the city,” Mayor Turner said in a press conference announcing Buenik’s appointment. “I am confident George Buenik has the strategic vision to take charge before, during and after the next crisis.”

“I look forward to getting back into public service,” Buenik said at the press conference. “My number one priority will be to keep this city safe and secure. I will work closely with Mayor Turner and other city directors to ensure we are properly prepared to respond to and mitigate all disasters and major emergencies.”

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Turner also said that Buenik is the best fit for the job due to his years of experience with homeland security matters, as well as his familiarity with the city and its security infrastructure after serving for more than three decades with HPD.

Buenik takes over the position from former director Dennis Storemski, who is retiring after serving in the department since 2005.

Turner names HPD veteran Buenik as city’s Homeland Security Chief