1950: The Year of the Professor
After rising through the ranks of HPD, Chief Morrison became chief of police in 1950. Not only was he a college professor who taught sociology and criminology at the University of Houston, he also had special training at Northwestern University and the New York Police Academy.
Chief Morrison Takes Control
In 1951, Chief Morrison handpicked the first 14 men that would head up the “booster squad.” This squad was designed to strike at crime-infested areas of the city. The squadÃ•s identity was unknown even to many of the highest ranking officers.
A new $2,750,000 police administration and jail building was opened on August 11, 1952. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, citizens were given tours of the new police substation.
1954: New Man in Town
In 1954, Mayor Hofheinz appointed Sergeant Jack Heard to the position of chief of police. Chief Heard held a master’s degree from University of Houston and had attended Rice as an undergraduate. During his tenure, women were hired to work for HPD as dispatchers, jail matrons and to perform clerical duties. Chief Heard also announced that, for the first time in history, the department would have a police chaplain. The chaplainÃ•s duties were to attend police functions as well as be available to help officers in their time of need.
New Chief of Police
In 1956, Carl Shuptrine, who had a law degree, moved up through the ranks to become chief police. One of his first actions was to eliminate the downtown foot patrol in 1957. The 70 officers were transferred to patrol cars. Chief Shuptrine’s objective was to “decentralize” HPD in order to more effectively patrol the city’s newly annexed areas. At this time, Houston had grown to 352 square miles and some officers had to drive 20 miles to get to their beats.