HOUSTON – The Houston Police Department is offering up a $5,000 incentive to join its ranks.
The hiring incentive is being offered to new police recruits in the February, May and June 2015 academy classes.
Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland admits that the work is dangerous and the pay is low at first, at about $35,000 a year.
"Being a police officer is a calling," he said. "I didn't grow up as a young man thinking I was going to be a police officer. Never. Never entered my mind."
McClelland said his best recruiting tool is other officers telling youngsters their own personal stories about why they became cops.
"They knew the officer that was in their neighborhood. The officer let them sit in the car; maybe turn the siren on or off a couple of times," said McClelland. "They knew that was a person they could go to if they needed help."
The chief said minorities currently make up 53 percent of the force.
"We do an outstanding job of recruiting minorities and women, here at the Houston Police Department," he said. "And we make a special effort to go out of our way to seek out young minorities and women."
He said he would like to see even more diversity, especially in a city like Houston.
"Police agencies should be diverse. No doubt about it," he said. "And we're not satisfied with our diversity, even though it's very good."
With the incentive, each cadet will receive $2,500 within 30 days after starting the academy and $2,500 upon graduation from the academy.
The hiring process could take up to 90 days, according to HPD.
For more information, you can visit www.hpdcareer.com or contact the HPD Recruiting Division at 713-308-1300.