Houston Police Department wants to hire 500 more officers

Just how thin is our thin blue line? Thinner than many imagine.

The city of Chicago has roughly the same population as Houston and has about 10,000 police officers.

How many do you think we have?

I asked people on the streets of downtown Houston.

"I would think that we would have as many," said Janet Wheeler.

"Ummmm, 8,000? That's a pretty good guess," ventured Carlos Perez.

"Oooh ... ummmm 5,000? I don't know," said Nina Johnson. 

She's close. It's about 5,200.

Police Chief Art Acevedo has been pushing for more officers and now the Houston Police Officer's Union President Joe Gamaldi says he's about to get them.

"Today I'm proud to announce the drive for 500 pledge signed by the mayor and every single city council member," he said. 

The plan is to bring in 500 officers over the attrition rate.

To do that, the department will run six academy classes a year instead of four. That means actually hiring about 360 a year.

But there's a catch: how will we pay for it?

The mayor doesn't know ... yet.

"I'm not going to throw out to you the steps of how we are going to raise the money for it or how we are going to find the money for it, because it's a conversation that all of us have to participate in," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

That includes him, the city council, and most importantly the voters -- after all it's their money and their safety.

Wheeler says, "We need more police officers. We need more protection."