HOUSTON - The Houston Police Department is hiring more than 400 officers and something new is in the works to attract a specific type of officer.
For months now, protestors across the country have said there's a deep-seated problem of racism and bias within many police departments. Now some Houston officers say they have a solution and it could mean a new job for you.
"We need good, qualified applicants to join the Houston Police Department,” explains HPD Recruiting Division Sgt. Charlah Woodard.
"This is a great career option for so many people in our community,” adds Community of Faith Bishop James Dixon.
Demonstrators have been marching, making it known since the death of George Floyd in May, they want racial equality. "If you really want to see change in today's time, you have to be the change you want to see,” says HPD Officer Eric Carr who's the Public Affairs African American Community Liaison for the Houston Police Department.
Houston's Afro American Police Officer's League (AAPOL) is hosting a Community Based Police Recruitment Program, calling for those who want social justice to step up and become Houston Police Officers and replace the so-called “bad apples”.
"We're just trying to shake the good trees so we can get the good fruit,” says Officer Carr.
“We know when we recruit people who have a relationship to the community we get a better police service,” says AAPOL President HPD Sgt. DeAndre Hutchison.
“We need people who will come into the police department respecting blacks, whites, browns and all people the same. Knowing we do all matter, understanding that from the beginning. They were raised to understand that. They've lived that reality. You don't have to teach them to be sensitive to diversity,” adds Bishop Dixon who is hosting the recruiting event at his church Community of Faith this weekend because he says "changing the people, will change the practices”.
"We're in the midst of a social revolution in America and that includes Houston. Of course Houston is the home of George Floyd. We should set the precedent for doing things new and innovative,” says Dixon.
The program will serve as a sort of internship for those looking to fill the 400 spots within the Houston Police Department and will help recruits overcome certain obstacles.
"Some of the things that will hinder a candidate when they go through this process is their credit,” says Sgt. Woodard.
"We get a better result when people are partnered with a mentor. We think it's important that we provide a mentorship so we can work with these people one on one so we can walk them through the process,” says Sgt. Hutchison.
New HPD recruits can range in age from 20 to 44. If you hope to wear the badge and protect and serve Houston you're asked to register for the recruiting event by clicking here.
There's one Friday at 6:00 p.m. and another Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Both will be held at Community of Faith Church located at 1024 Pinemont Drive.
"You have to have a heart for service to be good in this job and we want to make sure we articulate that to everybody watching. We want servant leaders to come and apply with HPD,” says Sgt. Hutchison.