Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crooks Can Be Funny

Crooks are funny people. I mean that literally. I don’t know if they mean to be funny, they just always seem to do something to amuse you. I remember one time on patrol I got into a car chase that had every seat in the car full of home burglars.

We were not going that fast. Up and down the streets we went. The driver did not seem like he was trying to get away and it was easy keeping up with him. We were averaging speeds somewhere between a snails pace and a turtle on Red Bull. Odd chase.

I put the chase out on the radio and my backup arrived immediately. When backup approached he almost rear ended me because of the tremendously slow speed I was traveling. The officer that was backing me up promptly told me to pass the car in front of me so we could catch the crooks who were running. After I told him that the car in front of me was the crook, he asked if he could get me a cup of coffee for the chase. Did I mention we were going slow?

The chase lasted for about twenty minutes before something exciting happened. The crook decided to use his blinker to fool me. (This is totally a true story.) As we approached intersections the crook driving the car would put on his blinker as to which direction he was going to turn. Right blinker, right turn, right? Wrong, the crook turned left! Oh my gosh. OK, he fooled me once, but at the break neck speed we were going I was able to adjust my turn and keep up. (Sarcasm folks!) Did I mention that crooks are funny? This became more humorous as the chase continued. Every single intersection the crook would signal one direction and turn the other. I was really fooled one time when he would signal a direction and go straight instead...

After awhile the crook realized he was not fooling anyone and the hamsters powering his two front wheels of his car were getting hungry, so he stopped and gave up. Of course the other crooks (passengers) in the car assured me that they did not do anything wrong. They assumed they were just on a Sunday drive to the park. Crooks are funny.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Detroit, Michigan

If you live in the Detroit area, I will be around tonight through Thursday night if you would like to meet up with me for a possible interview or just talk about the Houston Police Department. Shoot me an email at and we can find a time to meet.

The Academy - Webisode Six

We have a classes starting all the time. Apply today and you can get on board and start your career. Remember if you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to email me at I will answer them right away. I won't hesitate, so you don't hesitate. Join today!

Monday, July 28, 2008

CSI - Houston, by Rookie Officer Swanson

My trainer, Officer Hicks, and I sign on early this morning and are dispatched to a burglary that just occurred in our beat. We drive to the location and meet our complainants outside of their apartment. Your normal burglary…not today…we are on the scene and begin to find tons of evidence that the burglar left behind. Officer Hicks watches the back of the apartment and I watch the front. On the floor the burglar had left a trail of blood from the television to the door where he made a startled exit with the complainant chasing after him that morning. I walk around to the back of the apartment to tell Officer Hicks about the blood, “partner can you grab the finger print kit for me, looks like we’ve got good prints.” The burglar had broken the back window with his hand, hence the blood trail he left, and in doing so he had grabbed the shards of glass and left a couple of perfect finger prints. Officer Hicks cut the glass out of the window and laid it on some newspaper for dusting. Dusting the print, it comes to life and we are able to capture it on a film of tape and preserve it on a print card. Back to the blood…taking a cotton swab and some sterile water I dab the blood and lift it off of the floor of the apartment and preserve it for its trip to the lab later. Just when we think we found it all….no….more evidence. There is a car parked against the fence, we check the license plate to find that it is a former jail prisoner’s vehicle. We approach the car and it appears that the window has been attempted to be pried open and there are more fingerprints and an entire hand print on the glass. The complainants also tell us that the man they chased out of their apartment this morning had been standing by the vehicle earlier before someone broke into their residence. I grab the finger print kit once again and dust the window of the car. The perfect palm print, when illuminated by the powder appears to be smudged so its no good….but there are two good prints that come to life and allow me to capture them onto our card for more evidence. Will the prints on the car match the prints on the complainant’s window? Does the vehicle belong to the burglar? Only time will tell after lab analysis. Evidence collected and complainants satisfied, we leave the scene and head to the evidence and property rooms to turn in our discoveries for analysis.

Immediately after we finish this call we are dispatched to another different and exciting scene. Another day of training with Officer Hicks, never a dull moment, no rock left unturned.

Officer Anna Swanson was Class Leader of Academy Class 196. You may have seen her in the "Last Roll Call" video in a previous post as a cadet, asking her class to sound off for roll call for the last time. Officer Swanson is currently patrolling our streets and making a difference in her community.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Make a Difference

In my entire life I have never felt more purposeful and elated every time I wake up to start a new day. I have never been so happy and healthy as I am now and full of direction and purpose. I take in each day, learning and becoming more and more excited for what I will do or learn next.

When appointed the class leader of 196, I was thrown immediately into being a leader of a group of 70 cadets in my police academy class. The academy brought out and solidified in me my strength, leadership and confidence. It challenged me to rise above everything I thought I was ever capable of. Each day I welcomed the new challenges and learning. I came out thankful for everything that I had experienced in the police academy not only in preparation for the work of an officer but also for the personal development that I went through. As I completed the academy an excitement stirred inside of me, I realized looking back on my life that it was as if I had been tailor made to be a policewoman.

I wake up each morning, roll over and say a prayer. I walk around the kitchen and brew a nice big cup of my favorite coffee and I sit and mentally prepare for the day. I pull my hair back in a tight ponytail, braid it and roll it up into a bun. I fasten my vest on over my black undershirt and put on my blue uniform adorned with my new HPD badge. The shield shines bright silver and I am proud to be a new HPD police officer.

I am so pleased to wake up each day and put on my same uniform, to wear my hair in the same bun, to walk out with a clean face, I feel liberated and I feel at peace. There is a peace that is with me now that I am an officer; doing what I love to do….it is a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Each day is new. I got placed, in my first 3 weeks of training with Officer Hicks, a veteran officer of 25 years who still loves his career. He still learns new things and is passionate about teaching the new officers. I learned more my first day of training than I could have ever imagined. Aside from the obvious parts of the police career…the arrests, the driving with lights and sirens…there is a deeper side of the career that I have been able to experience and observe with my trainer. We are figures of authority, law, justice and help…we are for some people the only solution to a problem. To experience coming to the aide of people in distress, or in need, and putting them at ease and comfort is truly rewarding. Having the honor to ride with an experienced veteran officer who works hard and still loves his career makes the future even more exciting for me as a “rookie” officer, to know that I will still be doing new things everyday even 25 years from now.

Officer Anna Swanson
Class leader of 196

Officer Anna Swanson was Class Leader of Academy Class 196. You may have seen her in the "Last Roll Call" video in a previous post as a cadet, asking her class to sound off for roll call for the last time. Officer Swanson is currently patrolling our streets and making a difference in her community.

Make a difference in your life and your community. Apply today!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Academy - Webisode Part Two

Click Play above provided by HTV

As promised, part two of eight. More webisodes to come this week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dark Knight

Photo design by Officer Quoc-Tuan Nguyen

With the new Batman movie coming out tomorrow there seems to be a lot of buzz and hype. I don't see what all the excitement is about. Look out your window tonight you will see the new HPD emergency system at work. Who am I kidding, you will see me in line at the new Batman movie.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Click Play above - provided by HTV

I will be providing eight video clips over the next few days that will highlight the beginning of the Houston Police Academy. These clips should give you some insight on what academy life is like. I receive numerous emails everyday from potential applicants wanting to know what it is like to be a Houston Police Cadet. Of course, you may also experience it for real by applying today. Maybe you will see yourself on the video clips about the academy in the future.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Little bored at work this morning? Checking out the HPD blog?

Click Play above

How about a SWAT helicopter skid ride exercise to break up the boredom?

Quit watching the clock at work slowly ticking away. Apply today!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What would you do?

Since I am currently out of town on a recruiting trip and out of the office away from my assortment of available media, I thought I would post a funny story about my first day off of probation. Back when I joined HPD you only had to be 19. I was 19. My first day off of probation they gave me a patrol car and a radio and told me I was on my own that day, no partner. It was a strange yet exciting feeling as I got behind the wheel of the police car by myself. Heck, I think my voice was still changing, I was so young. I was on the street, on patrol, when within the first ten minutes of my shift an incident occurred. Not a big incident, but an incident. I was traveling 20 mph in a 20 mph school zone when I noticed a car pass me doing about 40 mph in the school zone. This is it, my first incident on my own! I pulled this violator over to tell him of the dangers of speeding in a school zone. This a dangerous situation and I was concerned for all the children that could get hurt walking to school. I walked up to the window and asked the very polite gentleman for his license and insurance. The man was very cooperative and complied with my request. I walked back to my patrol car to write the ticket. As I began to write the ticket, I checked the date and realized at that point it was SATURDAY! Holy cow. What now? I walked backed up to the poor soul and politely told him I had the wrong car and he was free to leave. Part of police work involves common sense and quick thinking on your feet.

Normally not for these kind of situations.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't mess with the Zohan? I think not. "Don't mess with the Herb".

What a day! I have been out on the streets now for about two weeks, and it seems like every day is better than the last. This is the only job where no two days are ever the same. Even the days that I feel like I am doing the same types of calls over and over again, are exciting. You just never know what to expect. On any given day we could get a crime in progress call, or spend most of the day answering calls that require only a report to be made.

That’s what brings me to the other day. A call came over the radio for a burglary in progress. Any ‘in-progress’ call is dispatched out as a very serious call which must be responded to as quickly as possible. My trainer and I went lights and sirens all the way across the city to get to the call. When we arrived on scene we were told a general description of the two people who had just left the place where the burglary occurred.

We began rolling around on the back streets looking for the two. Then, walking down a side street we spotted the first suspect. We ordered him to the ground and I went in, put handcuffs on the individual and searched for any property that may have been taken during the burglary. Just as I am finishing my search, I hear Fox, one of the HPD helicopters hovering over me. He begins to talk about where the second person may be located. Then all of a sudden I see my trainer take off running when he spots the other individual.

What a sight to see, my trainer begins to run after the other suspect, while another officer comes running around the corner after the suspect, and then I see the K-9 unit come running up the street as well. There were three officers and a K-9 chasing after the suspect. Needless to say he was caught quickly, without any major incidents.

I couldn’t believe how exciting my day had been already and I had only been at work for an hour! How many jobs are there where you work with helicopters and K-9s? Our fast response to the scene along with our specialized units made the case open and shut. Witnesses helped to identify the suspects and all of the occupants personal items were returned to them. A thrilling morning had come to an end, but I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I got another opportunity to answer a call that would be even more exciting!

Written by Academy Class 196 President Mike Herb. Officer Herb, is now patrolling our streets and making a difference. Look for future posts with Officer Herb as he experiences his first year as a Houston Police Officer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Finish your Degree with HPD

Photo design by Officer Quoc-Tuan Nguyen

Have you ever thought to yourself that you would like to join the HPD, but you would like to finish college first? Did you know that you can finish your degree with HPD.

For undergraduate and law school courses, grades equivalent to a "C" or better will be reimbursed at 100 percent. For graduate courses other than law school courses, grades equivalent to a "B" or better will be reimbursed at 100 percent.

How about that?

You may then collect the Educational Incentive Pay - $140 bi-weekly -bachelor's degree; $240 bi-weekly masters; $340 bi-weekly doctorate degree.

You know what to do, apply today at you will love this job!

Excluding room and board costs, average published tuition fees at a private four-year college in 2007-08 climbed 6.3 percent year over year to $23,712, according to the College Board, a non-profit association of more than 5,200 schools, colleges and universities.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Movies

I have noticed a trend at the movie theater lately. There have been a lot of superhero movies. What is it about superhero movies that make a person want to see them? I think it is the deep-down feeling of wanting to do some good in this world. A superhero is a fictional character of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to “acts of derring-do in the public interest”. By most definitions, characters need not have actual superhuman powers to be deemed supeheroes - such as a police officer. There is no such thing as a real superhero, however the closest you can get to becoming a superhero in real life is in serving the public. An officer with the Houston Police Department is put in the position to make a difference in someones life on a daily basis. There are pages upon pages of heroic acts that were performed by our officers. No super powers, just instinct and guts. What a feeling when you save a life for real! It won’t cost you ten bucks for a movie ticket to see a real superhero in action either.

Friday, July 4, 2008

"Good Guy" vs the "Villain"

Click Play Above "circa 1981"

Something about being the "good guy". I never wanted to be the "villain". My high school senior play had several cast openings, I picked the "good guy".

I will probably get a lot of ribbing from my co-workers about my post today, but I had to show you something that reinforces everything that I have been saying about the Houston Police Department. Even when I was a senior in high school I knew that I wanted to join the HPD and make a difference. That is what being a police officer is about, making a difference in your community. Back then HPD was growing like it is now. As soon as I graduated from high school I became a Community Service Officer with HPD and when I turned 19 (minimum age limit in 1982) they placed me in the Police Academy. I have never looked back. If you are not 21 yet, you can do what I did. We have many civilian positions within the Houston Police Department. Apply online at :

Of course, if you are 21 and you want to be a policeman, you know the website address by now!

Happy 4th of July!

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Few people realize that HPD had just started the first hiring campaign in history back then. Take a close look at the picture above.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day One on the Streets!

Day one on the streets…it was finally time to take practice and make it reality. I don’t think that I will ever forget that day as long as I live. I felt a rush of excitement as I rode in the car navigating my way through the streets of Houston. I was happy to be out of the Academy but wondering the whole time if I would know what to do the first time I heard my unit number called. Part of me wanted a busy day of calls, while the other part of me thought it would be better to start off slow and get my feet wet.

In the end, both sides of me would be happy. The day began with very few calls for service, so my trainer and I had some time to roll around the streets and get orientated to the patrol beat. We began the day by rolling through many different neighborhoods in our beat. I was trying to learn the new area as best I could. This was a difficult chore, however, as the streets were all new to me.

Not long after we began patrolling, our first call went out: a local burglar alarm. I felt fairly comfortable handling this as my first call as we had done a great deal of practice at the Academy. After clearing the alarm call, the ‘slow’ day would come to an end. We were immediately dispatched to a minor car accident.

Before we could even finish the paperwork for the accident, we were dispatched to a shoplifting call. This would be my very first arrest, one that I am sure I will never forget. Not because anything wild or out of the ordinary occurred but rather because of the kind of nervous excitement I felt. It was finally the time when the months and months of training were being combined and put to use.

On one call I had to combine my knowledge of the Texas Penal Code, handcuffing procedures, interviewing skills, report writing skills, along with numerous HPD procedures. It was a lot to think about but it really helped me to realize why the Academy was so challenging. It prepared me for days like these! When I was done writing my shoplifting report and finished up the accident paperwork, my 8 hour shift was already over. My first day flew by so fast we never even had a chance to eat lunch. As I was leaving the station, I couldn't help but think about what different calls I would be running tomorrow. Part of me didn’t even want to go home so I could continue answering the calls for service!

Written by Academy Class 196 President Mike Herb. Officer Herb, is now patrolling our streets and making a difference. Look for future posts with Officer Herb as he experiences his first year as a Houston Police Officer.

As I was reading Officer Herb's first day experience as a police officer on the streets of Houston I couldn't help but to think back when I first hit the streets. The last sentence hit home to me. He said he "didn't even want to go home". Back when I was on patrol, I remember looking at my watch and thinking to myself "Darn, I only have one more hour before my shift ends." How many jobs can you actually say that about? Be honest, in most cases it's: "Darn, I have to BE HERE for another hour before I get to go home". This career is hard to explain, you have to experience it. You can experience it at .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Listen to your Mother

Way to go Class 196! As a parent who first met you all on graduation night - I could really feel the PRIDE - it just radiated from each and every one of you! The Academy was tough but every one of you found your way to dig deep and all your 28 weeks of hard work paid off. You were proud and we, your family and friends, were even more proud as we watched you graduate from Cadet to Officer with those shiny new badges! May you forever embrace your motto - "Committed to Protect - Honored to Serve".

The more I have seen of the law enforcement world, the more I have come to understand why my son has chosen this path for his life. The police department values, strong code of ethics, driving principles - ALL part of a life time commitment to serving others. By becoming an officer, he has committed to uphold himself to the highest ethical standards both on and off the job. What Mom would not be proud of that commitment?

Another great strength that I see and truly admire in law enforcement is their deep commitment to each other and their community. As Officer McCoy has been quick to note in this blog - fellow officers are his family. From what I have already seen and heard, it is really true, they are there for each other all the time. I also admire all the community service programs that the officers do - raising funds for great causes, raising awareness and educating through programs like Explorers, and my favorite, the Blue Santa program at Christmas time.

Future recruits - this is a great profession you are thinking about or waiting to get into. As you make your way there - do all you can to make these values part of your life now. Hold yourself to the highest standards, work hard in your academics, and get yourself in the best shape possible so you can excel when your time comes at the Academy. There is no faking being in shape if you are not already there when you do that first 3 mile run! Prepare all you can before you start and you will get so much more out of your time at the Academy.

One last word of advice for Class 196 - stay away from those donuts! Be the class that convinces the donut shops to start carrying power bars or carrot sticks with V8 Juice for those 3am pick me ups. :-) You are the best of the best - and for your own safety - lets keep you all that way!

Officer Herb's Mom

Written by Officer M. Herb's mother. Officer Herb is a recent graduate from Academy Class 196 and is currently patrolling the streets of Houston.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thank You

Thank you for taking time with us to mourn the loss of one of our fallen heroes. We will commit his body to rest on Thursday. I appreciate all the comments which I have received by email and posted to the blog. I will continue with normal posting starting tomorrow. Donations are still being accepted for Gary's family at