There are over 5100 Classified employees and more than 1200 Civilian employees who work at the Houston Police Department. Civilians make up about 23% of the HPD workforce.
If you are an officer assigned to patrol, working evenings or nights with days off during the week you probably will not encounter many HPD civilian employees. If you work at the Edward A. Thomas building or any investigative division you probably interact with civilian employees on a regular basis.
I’ve had many conversations with civilian employees over the years and I am always surprised to find out that many of them don’t think much of us classifieds. I’ve always considered us to be a fine bunch of fellows but that opinion is not shared widely amongst our fellow city employees.
Why not? What is there not to admire about classified personnel? After all, don’t we represent truth, justice and the American way? Is there not a big red S tattooed on each of our chests? If we aren’t faster than a speeding bullet, at least we are faster than anyone else in line at the all you can eat buffet.
But a lot of our fellow employees don’t see us that way. In a word they find us to be arrogant. I guess that’s another way of saying we don’t give them much consideration.
Civilian employees at HPD perform special jobs that require special education or training to do well. Would you like to be an accountant in the Budget and Finance division? How about being an inventory management clerk in Office Supply or a Timekeeper in any division? Most police officers I know would not be interested in these jobs yet they must be done to keep the Department running.
In our defense, I’ve tried to explain to my civilian friends the difference between pride and arrogance. We are proud that we’ve completed a very difficult police Academy and a rigorous Field Training Program. We are proud of our skills as patrol officers or investigators. We are proud that we have put some really bad people in prison for a long time. And pride is what keeps an officer fighting toe to toe with a large, hostile bad guy even when the fight is not going well.
Arrogance, in my book, is egotism. You simply disregard the feelings of others and treat them poorly or at least you don’t treat them with the respect they deserve. This is, I think the basic gripe that HPD civilian employees have against us. So, even though we can be proud of our accomplishments, we should be considerate of others and respectful to all civilian employees.
Enough said. Be safe out there.
Sgt. Cole goes by the moniker Deacon Blue. He may be reached at David.Cole@HoustonPolice.Org