Texas

“More shoes on the ground” | 61 new officers join HPD ranks as city vows to reduce violent crime rate

Cadet Class 256 was the first class to receive a one-time $10,000 bonus for their service with the Houston Police.

HOUSTON. After several months of training, the Houston Police Class 256 cadets graduated Thursday morning, adding 61 new officers to the department’s ranks.

It’s the first class of 2023 that Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner and Mayor Sylvester Turner vow to focus on fighting crime.

“This demonstrates that public safety will be a top priority,” Turner said.

“We all need to focus on violent criminals,” Finner said. “When we lock them up, they should stay locked up.”

To fulfill this mission, HPD hopes to increase its recruitment.

“We need more boots on the ground,” Turner said.

“I always want more [officers]”, – said Finner. – We are doing everything in our power.”

The HPD is still short of hundreds of officers. That’s why the city is offering a $10,000 incentive bonus for joining the Houston Police Department.

“That makes us a lot more competitive,” Turner said.

Class 256 is the first class to receive a one-time bonus.

“It doesn’t upset me, sir,” new police officer Jared Butcher said jokingly. “I just bought a house, so this is a convenient time for me.”

HPD hopes the bonus will help them fill their cadet classes. At least 3 more classes will be released by the end of this fiscal year.

“By the time I leave, I want more officers on the police force,” Turner said.

Officials said the city’s crime rate was declining. 2022 ended with 40 fewer murders than the year before. According to Chief Finner, if this is the case, HPD and the community will work together.

“All violent crime rates have gone down,” Finner said. “We want to build on that momentum and use it in 2023.”

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