The budget Houston City Council approved this week continues to help HPD beef up its ranks. Chief Harold Hurtt says there are funds for seven more police academy class over the next 12 months. Last night’s graduating class has helped the department reach a milestone in its manpower effort.
“We had 63 cadets graduate and become Houston police officers, and ah, that also gets us over one of our major milestones of acquiring five-thousand officers. And, ah, present number; we’re at five-thousand-forty-four officers.”
The new budget also continues the twelve-thousand dollar signing bonus. Hurtt says the department isn’t having trouble getting enough people to apply, it’s having difficulty getting enough qualified people to apply. How many more officers does Hurtt want?
“As many as we can get, but I guess I’ll do a little better than that. If we were to get to, let’s see, the national average of two-point-nine, we will need a little over sixty-four hundred officers.”
The national average for large cities is two-point-nine officers per one-thousand people. Even as new officers come on board, though, others retire. Hurtt says the number of retirements lately has been lower than expected. He believes that may be because of the weakening economy.