By now it should be no secret that our focus here at the HPOU has been aggressively addressing our staffing crisis in the Houston Police Department. Recruiting has been the subject of previous articles and countless interviews; we even held a press conference announcing our “Drive for 500” to add at least that many officers OVER ATTRITION within the next five fiscal years.
I am now happy to report that all of our hard work is coming to fruition. The mayor will be presenting his 2019 fiscal year budget to City Council shortly and in that budget, is money set aside to hire 375 police officers – 15 more than the 360 we requested in our pledge.
This pledge, I might remind you, was signed by Mayor Turner and every councilmember and they will be making good on it in year one.
Now I am certain that all the Joyless Johns and Debbie Downers who said we would never get that number of police officers approved are very upset by this noteworthy development and I am even more certain that they will say “there is no way those positions get filled.”
What you may not be aware of is that our recruiting division has been doing a fantastic job enlisting cadets and our last several classes have been filled. However, since this will be the largest group of cadets they have been tasked to recruit in quite some time, it is the responsibility of all of us to recruit, recruit, recruit!
Who knows better the qualities and commitment it takes to be a Houston police officer than we do? Talk to your friends, your family, your neighbors, your church members, veterans, officers from other agencies – whoever! If they are good people and you think they would make a good police officer, start talking to them about a job with HPD. They can begin the process at hpdcareer.com.
We at the HPOU are always willing to put our money where our mouth is, and this is no exception. The department already offers $2,000 to officers for having a potential cadet go to recruiting, complete the academy and get off probation.
Furthermore, we at the Union will give a prize to one HPOU member per FY 2019 academy class who has signed up an individual through the Department’s mentor program and sees that individual finish the academy. Upon their graduation, your name will be placed in a drawing for a monetary prize with the other members that have mentored someone for that academy class and a winner will be selected at a future Union meeting.
We didn’t create this staffing crisis, but we can all have a hand in fixing this massive problem. We can make sure that officers on the streets have the back-up they need and detectives aren’t being crushed by a crippling case load.
We can be the change we want to see. Get out there and recruit the next generation!
We Say Goodbye
This past month, we unexpectedly lost some great friends of ours. Those great supporters were our good friends Officer James Wilson, Council Member Larry Green and former state Sen. Jack Ogg. They will all be missed by our community and I ask that you keep them and their families in your prayers. As a result of Council Member Green still having approximately a year and a half left on his term, a special election will be held May 5 to fill his vacant seat.
I would like to take the time to commend HPOU Board Member Rhonda Williams, our education committee and our Executive Assistant Lisa Marino on a job well done with this year’s HPOU scholarship program. For 2018, the HPOU will be giving scholarships to 106 dependents of our members, totaling more than $50,000.
These are both record numbers and the scholarship program is just another way for the HPOU to support our members and their families. Great job by all those involved and congratulations to all the bright young men and women who are receiving scholarships.
Stay in Touch
As always, be safe out there and if you need anything I am only a phone call, text (832-283-9492), email (email@example.com), message on Facebook, DM on twitter (@JoeGamaldi), away.