Houston Police Department pension concerns

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - "It's a violating feeling," Renee Lopez said.

when her apartment was broken into, she called police.

“They took the report and I never really heard back from them again,” Lopez said. KPRC has learned that a lack of followup on burglary and theft investigations could become the new normal in the wake of pension reform.

Many of the officers eligible for retirement work within the various investigative divisions at Houston Police Department.

“We have cases right now that if you don't have solvability factors they are suspended, the investigation is not going to take place. This could mean even with some solvability factors some of the crimes might not get investigated,” Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officer’s Union, said.

A source told KPRC that more than 30 officers, including several members of HPD’s command staff, have filed the paperwork to retire since the beginning of November. During a typical year, about 225 officers might retire from the force.

Hunt fears that number could jump to as high as 400 with changes to the pension system.

“As a resident here in Houston it makes me feel very uncomfortable for myself and my family and friends,” Lopez said. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner calls any suggested increase in retirements pure speculation. In a statement to KPRC, Turner stated:

“This has to be considered on a case-by-case basis, and in many instances, retiring right now will not be the best option.  The reforms represent a balanced approach that place great value on the experience and knowledge of the thousands of police, fire and municipal workers eligible to retire today.

"I encourage employees to reach out to their pension representatives for an explanation of how they will be affected. It is crystal clear that in the absence of these needed reforms, the system is not sustainable for active or retired police officers. Heading to the door right now will not guarantee the check will be in the mail. That guarantee only happens if we fix the system.”

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2