By the end of the summer, HPD will have another Weido on its roster.
The second Weido in HPD will automatically draw quick attention from officers and other Department personnel well acquainted with her father, Sgt. Paul Weido, who died from a heart attack late last year.
The Badge & Gun has duly recorded Sgt. Weido’s career on its pages, recounting so many Meritorious Service and Life Saving Awards that we’ve practically run out of space.
The Weido Award
To make a key point here, the Department has what is now known as the Paul Steven Weido Life Saving Award. To state the fact: Weido saved so many lives while on Westside Patrol, that HPD named the award in his honor/memory.
Abbigail’s great uncle, Anthony Vento, retired out of Mounted Patrol about 15 years ago. Paul Weido’s brother-in-law, Bruce Baker, retired from HPD Homicide nine years ago. Baker’s son, Brandon, currently wears the HPD blue. Another “cousin-in-law,” Officer Nat Alghaus of HPD, is married to a Weido cousin.
And we can’t neglect to mention that Abbigail’s uncle, Andrew Weido, is a Colorado County deputy sheriff.
Abbigail told the Badge & Gun her dad lived and breathed love for and dedication to his work as a Houston police officer. And to his family, as well. He was self-deprecating, not a braggadocio, always choosing to tell humorous stories and never once even hinting that he was a true Houston police hero.
Paul Weido was always helping others, steadfastly involved in the two communities that dominated his life’s work. He and his family resided in Columbus, from where he commuted to his HPD work, as an undercover officer for 13 years and on Westside Patrol in his later years.
As we have written here before, Paul Weido talked the talk and walked the walk, whether it was as an HPD officer in Houston or as a family man in Columbus. One of his passions was Special Olympics.
“My family has been very influential in the Special Olympics for 25 years,” his daughter the cadet explained. “In that environment with officers he brought to life the community that he wanted to give back to.”
HPD was his second family and the family members he knew and loved there had an ever-lasting influence on his life. That influence rubbed off on Abbigail and her younger brother, Zane, both of whom want to be members of that same second family.
One officer influenced Paul Weido toward Special Olympics.
“My father and other HPD officers (family members) would get together and raise money for Special Olympics. Every year they would raise thousands of dollars, not only running across Texas but selling barbecue plates and anything else to benefit Special Olympics.
“I believe he had an experience with an officer active in Special Olympics and I saw how much that officer had inspired him. Whenever I joined Special Olympics this year, I was very excited about doing it.”
She was asked the name of this inspirational officer.
“I was going to ask him,” she replied. “Sadly, he passed away before I could ask him.” Her father died Dec. 11.
Abbigail appeared thrilled to repeat stories of her father’s experiences with the second family. Many actions her father the sergeant took were “random acts” of unconditional love for his fellow human beings
Weido amassed many homemade blankets, thanks to the worthy seamstress, his mother, Harlean Weido. “He would hand them out to the homeless and people on the streets during the winter,” his daughter recounted.
Then Abbigail stated an affirmation: “There’s nothing more I want to do with my life than to give back to the community like he did.”
Like Father, Like Daughter
Weido fathered twin daughters from an earlier relationship, Ashton and Brittany Cloer, 30.
His youngest four all grew up in Columbus. Abbigail, 24, is the oldest, followed by Zane, 22; Gabrielle, a volleyball player for Victoria College; and Harlee, an eighth grader.
Paul Weido and his wife Laura raised this family in town but also often retreated to the nearby family ranch. The sergeant preferred staying as close to home as possible. He got a Westside assignment because it was the closest station to Columbus. He commuted every day.
To recount Weido’s stories of heroism could well take up the rest of the space in this issue. We will try to boil down the stories, most of which happened on patrol in 2013.
The life-saving events included but were not limited to the following:
• Weido battered down the door of a burning townhouse off Memorial Drive, ran into the second story bedroom to wake up an elderly man, saving him from fatal smoke inhalation.
• On patrol, Weido learned a woman was trying to take her own life by hanging herself from the bathroom door of her apartment. Weido entered the room, squeezed a finger between the cord and the woman’s neck, enabling him to remove the cord and allow a free flow of air. He began chest compressions before HFD paramedics arrived and brought her back to life.
• In another attempted suicide episode that same year, Weido gently confronted an 18-year-old male who thought he was wanted for statutory rape. The young man was poised to jump from a multi-story parking garage. Weido talked him down after convincing him that there were no such charges filed against him.
Sgt. Weido’s personnel file not only thickened with accounts such as these involving saving the lives of Houstonians but also others for meritorious service.
In fact, the Department singled him out, posthumously, as one of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients at the annual Police Heroes presentation during Police Week. The proclamation presented to Laura Weido stated that there were actually eight Life Saving Awards, three Hostile Engagement Awards and two Meritorious Service Awards, three Chief of Police Commendations, one Mayoral Commendation and 64 letters of Commendation from citizens and supervisors.
The proclamation stated, “His expertise and working knowledge of patrol and investigations allowed him to provide a clear understanding of the merits of each nomination.”
Police Chief Art Acevedo signed this special document. Here is just one example of the tone of the written word:
“Ultimately, Sgt. Weido showed leadership by inspiring his officers to excel. He was a boots-on-the-ground, action-oriented sergeant, and he accurately, consistently and personally modeled the values, standards and culture of HPD.”
Today, we can offer proof in this story that Paul Weido offered these same worthy attributes to his family, inspiring a daughter and son to follow in his footsteps.
Abbigail said most of the time the family never learned the details of his accolades until they accompanied the husband and father to the awards presentations. She also pointed out that during the 11 years her father wore long hair and a scraggly beard as an HPD undercover officer, the friendly folks in the small-town containment of Columbus were never scared of their fellow citizen.
“I believe that most of our community knew he was undercover for a special team at HPD,” the police cadet recalled. “No one was scared of him. Little babies would come up to him. Everyone knew he was a great man always there for everyone.”
Then she laughed and said, “The random Houston community would see him as little frightening.”
She said, “My father’s personality was completely different than what it looked like. He could make people laugh. As soon as he would start talking to you, he was someone you could open up to and trust.”
Abbigail said – just as stated in the Lifetime Achievement proclamation – Sgt. Weido “wouldn’t talk about it (a heroic event), not as an award. He would feel he was doing something for someone else, saving someone’s life. He felt they had a value on their life no matter where they stood.
“He was honestly very humble about it, about saving lives.”
Abbigail Weido wants to closely follow her father’s career path in practically every way possible. Talking with her, you realize that she wants to, literally, live his legacy.
Her hopes after graduation from the academy in July?
“Normally, you do get a choice depending on your standing in class,” she said. “Mine would be Westside. I would get to work with my father’s coworkers and in the same Westside Division.
A ‘Magnetic’ Individual
“I always love to work closely with communities. I did volunteer events in Columbus and in Houston as well. I would love to go undercover narcotics. It was where he had the most fun. He would tell me stories of just the wildest things he would get into. He was known as, uh, well, a term I’m maybe not supposed to be using – a shit magnet. Drama happened around him all the time.”
(The interviewer decided that not too many readers would be offended by the use of such an appropriate policing term).
Paul Weido tried his best to influence his offspring in the most positive ways, always helping them in all of their key decisions. Before he died, he knew his daughter was about to enter the HPD academy. He helped her pick out the 9 mm Smith & Wesson semi-automatic she would use at her side.
His influence is very apparent. Like her dad, Abbigail said, “Yes, I will commute to Columbus. I enjoy the city and the people, but I enjoy living out in the country with more space, the space as well as the nice quietness that you can’t find anywhere else here.”
Paul Weido used almost those same words when he explained to the Badge & Gun why he thought his long daily commutes were worth it. “We do have a ranch,” Abbigail said. “Over the years we have maintained a house (in Columbus) and maintained the house in the country as well.”
The Weido family raises cattle, “Angus, mostly,” the latest family police cadet said.
Many officers knew and respected Sgt. Weido over the decades. Many of them have been there for his daughter, who admitted that being an HPD cadet can’t be described as “easy.”
“It’s been a struggle,” she said. “You have good days and bad days. So many people come and tell me about my father. They keep him alive in my eyes. This shines a light on the different stories and different accomplishments that he’s done in the Department that he’s never mentioned. They are funny, even crazy.
“He never told a story where he was the hero. He would always humble himself. He would be embarrassed to even mention himself (as heroic). Hearing that makes me want to give back more and be like him.”
When she graduates, Paul Weido’s daughter will see her policing family in the audience as she officially becomes a part of the Second Family at HPD. Her cousin, HPD Officer Brandon Baker, “who absolutely adored my father – he was like another son to him,” will have a distinguished honor at the special moment.
It won’t surprise you to note that Baker was assigned to Westside – until he recently became a sergeant!
Sgt. Baker will pin the HPD badge on Abbigail Weido.
Zane Weido, 22, was raised in the same policing-oriented environs as his slightly older sister. He also has applied to HPD.