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The Houston Independent School District Police Department hosted a ceremony Wednesday to recognize the promotions of six new sergeants and to swear in seven new officers.
The celebration, which was held at the High School for Law and Justice for the officers and their families, honored the new sergeants, who were officially sworn into their roles last month, as well as the new officers, who were sworn in at the event.
“This is more than a swearing in,” Police Chief Paul Cordova said. “This is a public commitment to the principles of law enforcement, and it’s our officers reinforcing their commitment to serving the community.”
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan expressed her appreciation to the department and the new officers for their work in keeping HISD schools safe.
“I’m so grateful to have such skilled officers protecting our community,” Lathan told the group. “You are the best of the best. These promotions show the department has great confidence in you, and so do I.”
Cordova administered the oath of office to the group of 13, who then had their badges pinned on their uniforms by a family member or friend.
Newly promoted sergeants include Ramon De La Rosa, James Hayes, Sonia Quintanilla, Otis Simmons, Shane White, and Justin Williams.
New HISD police officers include Ashley Babers, Steven Bennett, Christopher Castacio, Gilbert Lozano, Arturo Resendiz-Trejo, Jasmine Ross, and Julenda Lewis-Burton.
Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby challenged the new officers to engage with students.
“I ask you, as you take the pledge today, that you will also take another pledge,” Busby said. “Pledge to become a mentor and a major stakeholder in the lives of HISD children.”
HISD Board of Education President Diana Davila and Trustee Jolanda Jones also expressed support and appreciation for the officers.
“I know it takes time and effort to build relationships with students,” Davila said. “But that is what builds trust with them and the community, so I thank you for that.”
With over 200 officers currently on the force, 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.