HOUSTON – The Houston Police Department is looking to hire hundreds of new officers to keep the city safe.
On Saturday, the department held its first annual hiring expo. The event was held at Discovery Green from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and hundreds showed up.
“It’s truly one of the greatest agencies in the nation and definitely the greatest city in the nation,” Chief Troy Finner said.
“A lot of positions are out there. We are running five academy classes each year, so we have [the] capacity, and we need them to come in and sign up for us,” Finner said.
Hundreds of people like Isaac Hernandez had the opportunity to meet recruiters, sign up for interviews, and submit applications.
“I understand it’s a dangerous job, but it’s something I have been interested in since I was young. I just want to come out here and make a difference,” Hernandez said.
People also meet K-9 officer Nate, mounted patrol officers, and learned about different divisions within the department.
“Everyone will start out on patrol, but we are a large agency with 45 divisions and there’s a lot to do. You see SWAT out here, Bomb squad, our Dive Team, and Special Operations,” Finner said.
Officer Alvaro Vallejo is a recruiter. He says it takes a lot of heart and hard work to be an officer.
“One of the requirements you need is 48 college hours, or you can come in with 3 years of full-time work experience or military having an honorable discharge with a year and a half of service,” he said.
If you have a criminal history or bad driving record, you could be disqualified.
“We have people that sometimes don’t come prepared. They don’t have the documents and they don’t come in physical shape ready to start,” Vallejo said.
Jennifer Alfaro was cut from the academy before because she missed a step. Now, she’s back and hopes to be a detective.
“I’m passionate about keeping the community safe, and I guess what you call getting the bad people off the streets and everyone can be more comfortable about where they live at,” she said.
The chief adds they need people who want to work hard to protect and serve. He says it’s been challenging keeping officers.
“They are going to retire at some point so that’s the main problem. We are getting people through the front door, but we also want to double down and increase that and be very intentional because we know on the back-end people are retiring,” Finner said.
Cadet pay starts off at $42,000 and you may be eligible to receive annual benefits.
To learn more about career opportunities at the Houston Police Department, click here.