How It Shapes Us

HPD Cadets Take Tour Of Houston To Learn More About City’s Diversity

The police department wants to help them get to know the communities they will be patrolling.

Immigration lawyer Silvia Mintz talked to the cadets when the visited the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, which is located in a part of Houston where many of its residents are immigrants from Latin American countries.
Immigration lawyer Silvia Mintz (right) talked to the cadets when they visited the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center, which is located in a part of Houston where many residents are immigrants from Latin American countries.

The Houston Police Department took a group of cadets on a tour of the city this week to help them become more familiar with the different communities they will be patrolling once they complete their training.

HPD calls the initiative the cultural diversity bus tour and started doing it last year as part of the cadets’ training.

“The purpose is to understand the community and to start developing relationships now and to let the cadets know that we have to be part of the community. In order to have police legitimacy, we have to have trust with the community,” explains Assistant Chief Charlie Vazquez, who oversees the Professional Development Command at HPD.

The tour included visits to neighborhoods such as Sunnyside, which is predominantly African-American and the cadets also went to other parts of town where most of the residents are of Asian origin, as well as areas with immigrants from Latin American countries and the Middle East.

Cadet Egla Flores says the tour allows trainees to learn small details that will help them when they interact with the public.

“If we try to shake the woman’s hand they probably wouldn’t shake our hand, they would place their hands over their chest,” she noted as an example of something she learned at the Islamic Society of Greater Houston.

Cadet Carsten Brown highlighted something he realized when the group visited a neighborhood where the majority of residents are Asian-American.

“How elaborate their programs were in terms of the community outreach to not only to the Asian community, but anyone who needs services,” Brown said.

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