Houston police are banking on constant communications to help head off violent situations like the ones seen in suburban St. Louis.  

Police officers union President Ray Hunt says the department routinely talks to community activists.  You can't rule it out, but Hunt thinks wide-spread rioting isn't as likely here as in some other cities.

“In Houston we have a Special Response Group which trains regularly on demonstrations, riot situations and things of that nature,” Hunt says, “but I really believe that with the network we have in place now, the chances of something like this happening in Houston are greatly diminished.”

Hunt says it is critical to be as transparent as possible in any investigation of a police-involved shooting.  That approach can slow down the escalation of public anger.

“The longer that you remain silent about the facts of that case the more likely it is that you're going to have riot situations,” he says.  “I think you have to get out in front of these things.”