Houston Police Department looking to hire more officers amid increase in crime

Many are saying the key to keep crime from increasing any further is to put more police officers on the street. The Houston Police Department has a major effort underway to do just that, bring in more officers.

"We are hiring now, explains Commander Kristine Anthony-Miller with HPD Recruiting. "We want some qualified candidates who are just ready to serve their community and wear this badge."

MORE: Houston police report 70% murder clearance rate for 2021, family waiting for justice reacts

In fact, the Houston Police Department is expecting a few hundred new faces in the uniform, donning police shields.

"The mayor has said we’d like to hire over 400, about 420," adds Commander Anthony-Miller. "We are actively recruiting that and hope to achieve that. We have six academy classes scheduled for this year."

As the number of violent offenses climbs in the pandemic, bringing in more officers could equal less crime. 

"Having more officers absolutely will allow us the ability to better address crime and better serve our community," says the Commander.

MORE CRIME AND PUBLIC SAFETY

As Senior Officer Eric Carr explains HPD is seeking a range of recruits. 

"We are one of the largest minority-majority police departments and it’s very important because you want to reflect your community". 

"Diversity is extremely important," Sgt. Jaime Ramos with HPD Recruiting adds.  

Women are 17% of HPD's force, 4% over the national average, including 20 year HPD Veteran Commander Anthony-Miller who is a former high school teacher. 

"We have officers from every ethnicity, gender and in fact, HPD is ranked higher than the national average for female officers," says Commander Anthony-Miller. "I said you know what for my second career I’m going to do it and it’s been the best decision of my life."

MORE: Harris County Commissioners unanimously pass new $2.6 million crime initiative to help tackle violent crime

Houston Police recruiters have been busy with events including the Run With Your Recruiter at Memorial Park every other Friday. 

"They have the opportunity to speak to recruiters, ask them questions, get a feel for the physical requirements of the job," Sgt. Ramos explains. "We’ll actually do a run and see, kind of gauge where they are as far as their running performance, jumping. We do push-ups."

HPD has over 45 divisions from Robbery, Homicide and Family Violence to working with children and the homeless. 

"HPD has everything. If you want to ride a horse. If you want to ride a motorcycle. If you want to ride a bike. If you want to drive a police car HPD has a role for everyone," the Commander says with a big smile and then laughs. "You also have the ability to promote. I’ve been very blessed through my career to be able to promote through the ranks and if you also look at our women in our supervisory roles, three assistant chiefs out of our eight are female. Just saying."

DOWNLOAD THE FOX 26 NEWS APP FOR THE LATEST ALERTS

Commander Anthony-Miller says she’s looking forward to welcoming even more sisters and all qualified candidates to HPD. 

Visit hpdcareer.com for the complete list of qualifications. The recruiting events are open to the public, but you don’t have to attend to apply to the department.