Old Cops Are New Again at HPD

The Houston Police Department has hired 24 retired law enforcement officers as part of an innovative effort to deal witha severe staffing shortage. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The department is hundreds of officers short and is now inviting retired officers to come back to work part time. The first two-dozen start work this week, including retired detective Delinda Wilken. She spent 25 years at HPD before she retired and went back to school. Now she'll work on solving old murders in the department's homicide division.

"I came back home, but somebody else has moved into my house, because I'm seeing a lot of new faces, but they're all eager, they're all eager faces, the same face I had several years ago and I think that we'll all mesh really well. The geriatric squad and the new kids on the block."

The retired officers will work an average of 30 hours a week and will cost the department about $1 million a year. Jerry DeFoor is the president of the Houston Police Retired Officers Association and is helping the department recruit retired officers to come back to work.

"Many of the police officers who retire go on to other jobs, often in law enforcement, and many of the folks who have applied have been in law enforcement at other agenices for over 10 years and they've retired again. This kind of profession is in their blood and they love it and they want to come back and contribute."

Many of the officers will fill investigative positions within HPD and won't patrol.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...