The Houston City Council will honor the original members of the HPD Chicano Squad at its Aug. 20 meeting with a proclamation in the presence of five of the six original members of the squad in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the formation of the special squad.
The original “Squad 1” was led by Sgt. Jim Montero and included Jose Selvera, Cicil Mosqueda, Joe de Leon and Lupe Hernandez. A short time later, Raymond Gonzales replaced de Leon.
District I Councilman Robert Gallegos spearheaded the special presentation and plans to spend about $15,000 from his council budget to set up a special display case commemorating the Chicano Squad at the HPD Museum at 1200 Travis.
Joaquin Martinez, Gallegos’ chief of staff, has been working with Museum Director Steve Duffy to gather up memorabilia and newspaper clippings to be used in the exhibit.
“We will take in as much information and memorabilia as the original members of the Chicano Squad are willing to share,” Martinez explained. “We are not trying to limit the size of the case. We will take as much as they have to share. We’re excited to be finalizing the effort.”
Then-Police Chief Harry Caldwell formed the squad in 1979 in the wake of a sharp increase in crimes targeting recent immigrants from Mexico. Martinez pointed out that HPD’s relations with the Hispanic community has greatly improved, pointing out that the Alanzia Against Crime works very closely with the department to keep track of current crime trends in the community.
The Chicano Squad was a major step toward improving communications between the department and the community at a time when HPD had very few bilingual officers. All members of the squad were bilingual.