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Houston Police Department

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The Houston police department is the primary law enforcement agency serving the city of Houston Texas in the United States.

Located at 1200 Travis in Downtown Houston, its mission, according to the HPD website, is to enhance the quality of life in the City of Houston by working cooperatively with the public and within the framework of the U.S. Constitution to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear and provide for a safe environment.
With a staff of 5400 sworn police officers and more than 1600 civilian employees, the Houston Police Department is the 5th largest police agency in the United States. It has an annual budget of $695 million dollars and the current Chief of Police for the department is Charles McClelland.

Charles McClelland was sworn in as Chief on April 14, 2010. He has served the Houston Police for 45 years after joining the department as a patrol officer in 1977. Born in Center, Texas, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy and the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Executive Institute.

The Houston Police Department was formed in 1841, just 4 years after the city was incorporated. This is because as the city grew, so did the knowledge that there was a need for a cohesive law enforcement agency.

Houston saw massive growth over the years and in 1910, the department purchased its first automobile due to growing traffic concerns and the very first traffic squad was also created in that year.

The first homicide division was established in 1930 and during that same year, the Houston Police Department purchased newer weapons to arm their officers. In 1939, the department proudly presented its first police academy class and the Houston Police Officers Association (HPOA) was created in 1945; an organization which later became the Houston Police Officers Union. In 1970, the Helicopter Patrol Division was created with three leased helicopters. That year also marked the department’s first purchase of bullet proof vests for their officers and in 1975, the Houston Police Department’s first Special Weapons and Tactical Squad (SWAT) was formed.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a starting police officer in Houston in 2010 was $37,810 a year. Once you become a sworn officer who can be assigned to dispatch duty, your salary range will be $42,126 to $66,017. Senior police officers earn between $66,828 and $71,957.

And this salary does not include any overtime pay or the educational incentive pay which is added if you are a graduate of accredited college or university.

The Houston Police Department is also now accepting applications for a June 2013 academy class. Being a member of the Houston Police Department is a great and beneficial opportunity. Houston Police officers earn 35 paid days off each year after the first year of employment. Eventually, this becomes 60 paid days and 11 paid holidays. There are also health, dental and vision insurance presets that are subsidized by employers along with retirement programs and early retirement options.

But before one can earn a police officer’s salary or even hope to become a police officer and protect the lives of the innocent, there are a certain set of requirements that need to be met. There are education/experience requirements that need to be met, physical requirements and personal requirements.

Education requirements include demonstrating experience through their education or previous work. At a minimum, they need at least 48 credit hours of college education with a minimum 2.0 GPA or two years of active military duty with the United States Armed Forces with an honorable discharge or at least five years of full time law enforcement work.

Physical requirements include the age and physical ability of the applicant. Applicants are required to be between the ages of 21 and 45 years old but the applicant must not turn 45 before an oath of office is taken for his/her application to be received.

After passing the weight and height requirement, there is also a fitness exam. The fitness exam includes three events; running up four flights of stairs within seventeen seconds; an obstacle course which comprises of eight hundred feet where the applicant needs to jump a 5’3” hole and scale a 3 and a ½ foot wall in the first lap, to be completed in 80 seconds; and a final event in which the applicant must perform six push-ups and twenty sit-ups in two minutes.  Failure to complete any event and the applicant has to redo all of them but he or she only has three chances or else they have to wait another 30 days before attempting the test again.

If the applicant manages to pass through the previous test, there is one more test or set of requirements that he or she needs pass or fulfill. This final process involves personal record requirements such as the need to have a valid driver’s license and be able to prove coverage with liability insurance.

Applicants must also exhibit stable credit backgrounds, family lives, and employment experiences. Conviction of a Class A felony or misdemeanor at any time or of a Class B misdemeanor within ten years of the application date makes an application ineligible for employment with the Houston Police Department.

Being a member of the Houston Police Department is a tremendous opportunity.  It is an opportunity that allows you to enjoy certain benefits as well as help and protect the lives of residents.

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