Pointing out that last year the Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) did not turn over a single pollution case to the county's district attorney, Harris County First Assistant Attorney Terry O'Rourke has begunpromoting the creation of a new pollution police. Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack claims that polluters are operating with impunity because of the way the HCPHES department is run. In defense of her department's enforcement activities, current HCPHES Executive Director Herminia Palacio — who describes herself as a physician with police powers — noted that last year the department issued more than 1,000 violation notices and gave guidance to companies on how to comply with environmental regulations. Nonetheless, O'Rourke claims that an independent department could focus its efforts on checking smokestacks and pipelines and pursuing court-ordered cleanups. Moreover, he claims that the HCPHES "shouldn't be the same one whose job it is to kick the rear end of major companies and sinister polluters."