HPD Plan: Safety training and awareness reducing cost of claims

James M. Garza

In an effort to reduce injuries along with the volume and cost of claims, the Houston Police Department has strived to improve safety training and awareness, as well as revise and enhance departmental policy.

In the last three years, HPD has spent a total annual incurred cost of the following:




Num of Claims




Total Cost




During this time, the top three causes of injuries were motor vehicle crashes (MVC), apprehension of persons in the act of a crime and trips, slips, and falls.

To reduce motor vehicle crashes, HPD has developed and implemented the “Driving Safety and Pursuit Refresher” mandatory training course for all classified personnel. The course is comprised of classroom instruction and actual “behind-the-wheel” track time.  This course has been included in departmental mandatory training requirements since TY2013-2014 to allow all classified personnel to attend.

Additionally, if a classified employee is found at fault for a MVC, it is mandatory to complete the “At–Fault Crash Remediation” driving class taught at the Academy.  The goal of the course is to provide students with information and skills that will enable them to reduce at-fault accidents.

Since 2003 HPD has administered an annual Safe Driver Program for employees who have driven on-duty one and five years accident-free.   Division Commanders should identify employees within their divisions who have driven accident-free for one year to be awarded a safe-driver certificate, or to those five-year recipients who will collect Safe Driver pins.

The deadline for submission of names of these employees had been extended to April 17.

HPD has recently created General Order #600-11, “Foot Pursuits.”  Departmental procedures and officer safety issues relating to foot pursuits are addressed in the TY2014-2015 mandatory training cycle in the “The Will to Live and Foot Pursuits” course.  This course includes an overview of tactical movements that will assist an officer in considering the balance between public safety, officer safety and the apprehension of a suspect.

Yearly, the City of Houston rewards city departments, CAIR (City Awards for Injury Reduction) program that have a reduction in injury claims and medical costs. HPD has been awarded enough funds from this program to purchase CPR mannequins, an AED, Defensive Driving Course booklets, helmets for Mounted Patrol, and several other items that can be utilized to promote safety throughout the department.