Officer Tim Whitaker first recipient of Blue Badge Award for unselfish service to his fellow Houston police officers

Andrea Schmauss
Senior Police Officer and HPOU Board Member Tim Whitaker pictured here with the first annual Blue Badge Award.

The Houston Police Family Support Unit (HPFSU) was proud to present the 1st Annual Blue Badge Award to Officer Tim Whitaker at the January HPOU general membership meeting.

Officer Whitaker was nominated by Lt. Timothy Trometer.

The Blue Badge Award is given to a HPD officer who has established a strong commitment to assisting his or her fellow officers on or off duty; who demonstrates a voluntary act of donating time, physical effort, financial support or special talent promoting the safety, health or welfare of other officers; and has undertaken these unselfish acts without regard to personal gain, financial compensation, special services or privileges as a result.

Left to right: Celeste Salazar, Director; Andrea Schmauss, Chaplain; Officer Tim Whitaker; Lisa Normand; Officer James Williford, Director; and Assistant Chief Wendy Baimbridge, Liaison. Photo by Gary Hicks

Officer Whitaker, a dedicated HPOU board member, is a tremendous individual who has the utmost compassion and respect for his fellow officer. His work with the Houston Officers Peer Assistance (HOPA) program is a prime example of his commitment and dedication to his peers.  HOPA is designed to provide a support mechanism to help officers cope with the stresses of life.

The basis of this support mechanism is the ability to connect an officer in need to a trained officer that can listen and provide guidance. A critical component of the program is the ability to contact a fellow officer, as only another officer can truly understand the stresses and trauma experienced in big-city law enforcement. The officers (who are either current or retired) that assist in this program do so on a voluntary basis.

Currently there are 21 volunteers who answer the phones lines 24/7. The phone lines are not only available to HPD officers, they are also open to other agencies when they unfortunately experience a great tragedy or stressful event. Just the other day a call was taken in from an Atlanta PD officer who was dealing with such a difficult time in his life.

Officer Whitaker currently serves as the president of HOPA, which requires a significant contribution on his behalf.  Serving in this capacity requires Officer Whitaker to manage the overall program. He is responsible for ensuring the phone lines are continually monitored as well as providing direction and guidance to those who assist in the program.

Officer Whitaker provides all of the training to the HOPA volunteers and to the department in general. He taught a section of the 2017-2018 in-service training class that introduced the HOPA program to HPD.