HISD police chief and leadership team take oath of office

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Houston Independent School District Police Chief Paul Cordova and five members of his leadership team were publicly sworn in during a special ceremony held Wednesday at Crime Stoppers of Houston.

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan administered the oath of office to Cordova and noted that, by taking the oath, the officers are publicly pledging their commitment to keeping students and staff safe.

“We live in a time where we can’t take things for granted,” Lathan said. “The officers that we are recognizing today are heroes. They are passionate not just about their jobs, but also about the safety of our students and staff.”

After taking the oath and having his badge pinned on his uniform by his mother, Cordova promised to keep the safety of students as the department’s top priority.

“I’m both humbled and honored to be given this opportunity,” the chief said. “I will work hard every day to make sure the children of HISD are kept as safe and secure as possible.”

Cordova then administered the oath to five recently promoted officers on his staff: Assistant Chief Lucretia Rogers, Capt. Robert Barbosa, Capt. Richard Morris, Capt. Artina Walker, and Sgt. Eric Grant.

“I could not be prouder or more confident in our new command staff,” Cordova said. “They exude the values of integrity, honesty, compassion, and tenacity. These attributes and more will be needed to lead the largest independent school district police department in the state of Texas.”

HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby, and members of several different law enforcement agencies also expressed support and appreciation for the officers.

“What you do is hugely significant to me, not just as a board member, but as a parent,” Skillern-Jones said. “When we turn our children over to you to keep them safe, that’s a huge responsibility. I want to thank you for that.”

The HISD Police Department responds to more than 80,000 calls per year, covers more than 300 square miles in the Houston area, and is the only accredited public school district police department in the nation, a designation awarded by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

After the ceremony, the officers joined family members and guests for a celebratory reception.

“When you think about dedicating your lives — not just your careers, but your lives — to the day-to-day welfare of students and others, that’s something that really should be admired,” said Busby, who oversees HISD Business Operations, which includes the HISD Police Department. “I want you to know you are truly appreciated.”