Interim police chief appointed to lead department

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Paul Cordova has been appointed to Chief of the HISD Police Department.

Cordova has served as interim police chief since February, working to develop a new culture within the department while improving the agency’s perception. He and his officers were specifically tasked with finding better ways to serve our students and communities.

“In just a short period of time, he has been able to lead the police department through several major initiatives, including establishing a substation in the northwest area of the district to better serve schools located in that area, reorganizing the department to make better use of budgetary resources, and reviewing and revising existing policies to ensure consistency with industry best practices,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said.

Cordova has also created a districtwide Critical Incident Safety Plan, which includes the formation of an Emergency Response Team. Under his leadership, the department has implemented standardized arrest and detention procedures and created the Office of Community Services to better engage and interact with students, parents, staff, and community agencies. He has also worked to improve the department’s official ethical standards to foster trust and confidence within the unit.

A product of HISD and the son of a retired HISD principal, Cordova joined the HISD Police Department as assistant chief in August 2017. He began his career in 1982 with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, where he spent 32 years serving in almost every department — detentions, courts, inmate processing, transportation, records, patrol, warrants, criminal investigations, homeland security and emergency management — before retiring as senior captain. He then joined the Rice University Police Department, where he spent three years as captain. During his tenure, he managed patrol operations, emergency dispatch operations, criminal investigations, special events, dignitary protection, accreditation, and training and background investigations. He also participated in a variety of community outreach programs designed to increase trust and understanding between police officers and the communities they serve.

Cordova has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in criminal justice leadership and management from Sam Houston State University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Leadership Command College. He also is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the FBI National Academy Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Houston Area Chiefs of Police Organization, and serves on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Commission Against Gun Violence.

The police chief is a direct report to the superintendent of schools. However, Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby will continue with administrative oversight of the department.