The Chronicle‘s Anne Marie Kilday reported Friday on the graduation of 63 new officers from the Houston Police Academy:
After 26 weeks of intensive training, 63 new police officers were sworn in at graduation ceremonies from the Houston Police Academy on Friday night, a giant step for them and a small step toward reducing a serious staffing shortage in the department.
The graduates will boost a police department that is struggling with a lack of officers.
The department currently employs 4,365 officers, compared with 5,384 officers in 1996. More recently, about 660 officers have retired since a 14 percent pay raise went into effect in April 2004. Many had been waiting to retire with the increased pension benefits the raise allowed.
Hurtt said earlier this week that it would take about five academy classes each year to return to 1996 staffing levels by 2009 or 2010.
It’s good to see the Chronicle give some coverage to HPD’s manpower shortage. Aside from KHOU-11, most major Houston media have been strangely silent about the problem, allowing Mayor White and his Council largely to ignore it.
It still needs to be more of a priority.