Thursday, June 28, 2012



With the Supreme Court due to release the decision on the Affordable Care Act this morning, I thought you might enjoy this "blast from the past." 

Have a look at the schedule of benefits from a 1951 Houston Police Association insurance brochure.

Courtesy of the Houston Police Museum.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

HPD Relay Team

Leukemia is the no. 1 child killing disease. Ten times as many adults as children are stricken with leukemia. Lymphoma rates have nearly doubled since the 1970's. Police officers always want to "catch a killer" and the Houston Police Department (HPD) Bicycle Relay Team's goal is to "arrest these killers" and accelerate The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's fight against blood cancers.

The Houston Police Bicycle Relay Team will begin their 1,900 mile bike heading west with a stop at the Grand Canyon before heading into San Diego. This is an unparalleled volunteer effort to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Just the facts about the HPD Bicycle Relay:

The 2012 Bicycle Relay marks the 31st anniversary of this event.

Approximately 30 men and women from Houston Police Department will ride as well as other civilians closely associated with leukemia, such as patient family members, doctors and survivors.

The 2012 relay is slated to depart from the Police Academy or Discovery Green Park in Houston at 9:00 a.m.on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 and arrive in San Diego, California on Monday, July 2, 2012.

Previous destinations include Alaska (2 times) Canada (9 times) California, The White House, Maine, and most other places in between.

Each member of the relay team wore a special "dog tag" bearing the name of an honored patient/survivor to help encourage them throughout this trip.

The HPD bicycle relay team has been commended by former President Bush in his "thousand points of light" program for their efforts and for helping to improve the overall quality of life.

In the past 30 years, participants have raised over $5.2 million for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and have pedaled over 67,500 miles!

For more information please visit:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Family Affair, By James Pinkerton,

When a son or daughter joins the family business, parents are understandably proud. But when the family franchise is the rough-and-tumble world of Houston police work, the stakes and emotions are cranked up a few notches.

"He's going into the belly of the beast," veteran HPD detective Keith McMurtry said of his son's decision to join the force.

The newest batch of Houston police cadets sworn in last week included 19 known as "legacies," comprising nearly a third of Academy Class No. 212. A legacy is a recruit who has a parent, brother, sister or in-law who is or was on the force.

In most cases, a uniformed parent or close relative of the legacy was at the ceremony to pin a shiny badge to their cadet's new uniform as they took the stage at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center in northeast Houston.

HPD already has an estimated 75 to 100 legacies on the 5,200-member force, a number considered higher than in most departments, said Houston Police Officer's Union president Ray Hunt. That's partly due to HPD's volunteer mentor program, which allows new recruits to be paired with veteran officers they are related to as they progress through the six-month academy and beyond, Hunt said.

"It's a good thing because part of the support group that you have is your family," Hunt explained. "And if those families know what to expect prior to coming in here, because their dads and mothers have been a police officer for 30 years, clearly that is a lot easier for the adjustment."

'It's a calling'

Hunt should know. His stepfather and brother-in-law were Houston cops, and his brother is currently an HPD sergeant.

Police Chief Charles McClelland said legacies have proven to be a positive and productive addition to the force.

"It's sort of like the clergy. People feel that it's a calling, and they are great models for their kids and other kids, and that's why a lot of police officers' children want to follow in their footsteps," McClelland said. "Normally the children of police officers are very dedicated officers. They're very hard-working employees because they don't want to tarnish their mom or dad's reputation."

This class's leader was Mathew McMurtry, a 27-year-old Houston native who spent four years in the Marine Corps - with two tours in Iraq - before graduating last year with a political science degree from Texas A&M University. As McMurtry stood at attention on the stage in front of Chief McClelland, the badge was affixed to his uniform by his father.

"The profession itself is an admirable job, and an honest job. A lot of that comes from my dad, and my grandfathers on both sides who were police officers too. I'm following in their path," McMurtry said.

Keith McMurtry said his son has been immersed in police culture most of his life and is aware of sacrifices.

"Tradition is something that should still be respected in 2012," the detective said. "And with him being raised in our household, he was immediately aware of all aspects, the long hours, the missing of baseball games. It's part of the package, and he's going to have a better idea than most. It's nothing like it's portrayed on TV."

Diverse duties

The legacies include some odds-defying similarities.

Gary Blankinship, a motorcycle officer who headed HPD's police union, and Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin, both attended the same HPD academy class in 1982, and both have daughters who were sworn in Thursday night.

They are officers Nicole Blankinship-Reeves and Nichole Lumpkin.

Brian Lumpkin believes a big draw to HPD is the variety and diversity of police work, ranging from anti-gang task forces, administrative posts, the aircraft division and special investigations. The city of Houston provides a generous compensation package, including retirement and annual salaries ranging from $42,126 up to $160,000 for an executive chief.

Senior police officer J.J. Berry, who has spent nearly 37 years at HPD, pinned a badge on son-in-law Seemanth Raj, a 30-year-old St. Louis native who moved to Houston to teach school.

Two years ago, Berry pinned a badge on his son, HPD patrol officer Jordan Berry.

"It's something that will never get boring, and it gives you great purpose because you're not just doing it for yourself, for fun, or because you want to be a cowboy. It's actually for the community itself, to keep people safe, Raj said."

Friday, June 15, 2012

2-1-2 Hits the Streets!

2-1-2, congratulations on graduating from one of the finest police academies in the world last night. Now it's time to move on to Field Training. I recently came across this article that might be of interest to you. Good luck and make us proud!

June 06, 2012 | by William Harvey - POLICE - Law Enforcement Magazine

You've got the job, passed the police academy, and entered the field-training segment of your new career. Yes, you're on the career path of your dreams. But what should you do if you can't stand your FTO?

This can be a problem on several fronts, so let's talk about this before it gets out of hand.

The role of the Field Training Officer (FTO) is more or less defined as that of a one-on-one supervisor and trainer. They're the direct connection between graduates of the academy and self-actuated functioning police officers. The FTO has a defined mission to be the trainer, evaluator, supervisor, confessor, and many other roles.

Most departments don't have an articulated job description for the FTO. All too often, it's clumped into the "other assigned duties as directed" category. This can be a legal issue in several ways. For instance, if the recruit doesn't meet the departmental standards, the FTO may not have the authority to evaluate, recommend, and directly comment to the training or personnel files. Ideally, the FTO program should be codified within departmental procedures to strengthen the FTO and the program itself.

The FTO is a one-on-one supervisor of the recruit and may have the toughest job in Policeland. We all need breathing space; I don't like having someone standing over my shoulder. There's something about driving down the road with a person next to you who's evaluating your every move. You may feel like you're reliving your teenage DMV test.

While you're writing, your FTO is watching or criticizing every word selection and sometimes you want to scream. I hope you can fully understand the direct supervision of the dangerous and critical tasks you perform. We operate several dangerous instruments and safety must never be compromised. Sometimes the pressure of staying under the direct and all-seeing eye of the FTO creates a self-imposed drama within recruits.

There's a reason for this. If you can't perform under controlled pressure, how will you handle real-world pressures? If you can't stand the FTO asking you why you wrote a report in a particular way, how will you defend this to the sergeant, the district attorney, or under cross examination on the stand?

I often equate the constant eye of a trainer with learning to tie your shoes or riding a bike as a youth. You think you know how and want to show the trainer that you can, but you can't avoid the glaring frustration of attempting a skill you have yet to master. We all need space, but in order to proceed, the FTO must verify that he or she has explained and demonstrated a task and you've performed it.

Asking the FTO for a "do over" may sound simple enough. Just remember that the next time you need to perform this skill in the real street environment you may not be afforded any "do overs."

An FTO must also be the all-knowing prophet or confessor for your police career. Stop and think. Who taught you certain methods of performing police tasks? More than likely, it was the FTO who reaffirmed that you were performing as taught in the academy. The FTO was also likely directing you to get your skills up to required departmental performance standards.

The FTO will also be the one to help you over the phobias, hang-ups, and uncertainties of police life. Every recruit I've ever trained has always asked the "how do you handle this, if…" question. The FTO must grasp your skill level before responding. This is a difficult task and takes years to develop.

Before you decide that you can't stand your FTO, step back and view his or her role in your world as well as in the department. Learn to get along. Understand that there is a method to an FTO's madness. Before you know it, you'll be requesting FTO School. You see, good FTOs also produce good FTOs for the future. Drive on and train hard.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

2-1-2 - United In Blue

Well 212, you did it. Being a police officer is unlike any other profession in the world. From the application process to the Run with Your Recruiter events, to the orientation, to the police academy and over six months of extensive training. You are graduating tonight. How exciting.

Now training continues with live ammo and real danger. Please pay close attention to your FTO (Field Training Officer.) Job one, come home after every shift.

 Remember your training and above all, be aware of your surroundings and be safe.

Welcome to the family. Make us proud.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Another typical day at work?

As a Houston police officer, I can guarantee you will never have another "typical" day at work. Everyday is different and everyday makes a difference.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Do you want a job or a career?

~an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one's lifework.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

We expect to begin processing applications for the next academy class in early July 2012.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Officers in Action

Recently, Officers K. Parker and E. Therkildsen were dispatched to a Burglary/Home Invasion call. They arrived very quickly and observed a suspicious looking sedan sitting around the corner with two males sitting in it. The two suspects inside the vehicle were immediately detained while a third suspect was caught coming out of the house. A fourth suspect was seen running from this home and a foot chase began. Officer K. Parker ran after the fourth suspect and he was quickly captured without incident.

During this investigation, it was discovered that an elderly woman was inside her home at the time when two of the four suspects broke in, surprising her. The home owner hid in a closet and called for the police. The suspects ransacked her house and took her jewelry. Officers Therkildsen and Parker arrived promptly as the two suspects were about to leave.

Because of the officers’ quick response, the four burglary suspects were arrested and charged with burglary. The stolen property was recovered and returned to the home owner. Electronics, jewelry, a laptop computer and a cell phone were discovered inside the suspect’s vehicle. It was quickly determined that this property was taken by the four suspects in two previous home burglaries earlier in the day. 

Several of the suspects were identified as local gang members who are known to commit home burglaries. 

HPD would like to commend Officers K. Parker and E. Therkildsen for their dedication to duty, quick and decisive actions, and for helping keep the streets of Houston safer on a daily basis. By doing so, four dangerous burglary suspects were arrested and two other burglary cases were investigated and cleared.