Dallas recruits Houston for police officers

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KHOU-11’s Jason Whitely reports that the Dallas Police Department is aggressively recruiting Houston for new officers:

Houston and surrounding counties could be losing more police officers and potential new recruits because of an aggressive effort to lure our law enforcement officers to Dallas.

It was a billboard that first caught our attention. Dallas Police recruiting in Houston? It’s true.

“We want to have a real diverse police department. I’ve gone to New York a couple times. I’ve gone to Phoenix, El Paso, McAllen,” said Detective Buu Nguyen, Dallas Police Department.

Two Dallas detectives are in town all week, going to job fairs, schools, even at the Houston Community College looking for new recruits.

“We see a lot of interested people here. They’re walking around. They treat us very well here. They’ve accommodated us very well here. All we’re trying to let them know is that we’re hiring,” said Detective Eddie Lopez, Dallas Police Department.

They plan on hiring 220 new officers over the next year.

Out of town recruiting is nothing new for large departments, but Houston Police said it recently had to cut all of these out of its budget to save money. Dallas has done the opposite; spending more in the last few weeks than it has in the last few years.

Dallas City Council is spending $22,500 buying billboards across the state, 10 of which are in Houston.

One attraction Dallas offers is pay. First year salary there is $38,640, compared to Houston’s $27,097.

Dallas recruiters said they’ve already found 40 or so Houstonians interested.

But their visit here comes at a time when the Houston Police Department is facing a personnel crisis itself.

A large number of officers here are retiring over what they consider a poor pension plan, among other things.

It’s unclear whether any will take Dallas up on its offer or whether Houston will have a harder time finding new cadets.

Emphasis has been supplied to make the point that Whitely doesn’t: HPD is facing a looming manpower shortage, because City Council under Mayor White’s leadership has not funded cadet classes sufficient to replace personnel lost to retirement and attrition.

KHOU-11 recently reported that manpower is being shifted from city parks to more basic police services, indicating that personnel shortages are already affecting everyday life in Houston. Meanwhile, the Mayor and Council have apparently placed a higher priority on smoking bans and a $2 million African-American museum giveaway, judging from time spent on those issues.

At least Dallas should find Houston fertile recruiting ground for their police department, since there’s not really local competion at the moment! That should give our friends at Y’allBlog one more thing to like about Houston.

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX