the Houston Police Department
Houston Police Department is organized into four main entities: Administrative Operations; Patrol Operations; Investigative
Operations and Support Operations. The Patrol Operations has the largest number
of personnel and is divided into two commands: North Patrol Command and South Patrol Command.
The Investigative Operations are also divided into two commands: Criminal Investigations Command and Special Investigations
Command. The Criminal Investigations Command organizes the detectives like many
police agencies, that is, by type of crime. Detectives in the Criminal Investigations
Command of the Houston Police Department work: Auto Theft; Burglary and Theft; Homicide; Juvenile and Robbery. Because they are seen as more sensitive areas, major police departments tend to break out certain types
of investigative functions under a specialized command, or with some specialized police command oversight. Houston Police Department has chosen this path in its Special Investigations Command which is responsible
for Criminal Intelligence; Gangs; Major Offenders; Narcotics and Vice.
City of Houston was founded by Augustus and John Kirby Allen brothers in 1836 and incorporated as a city the next year, 1837.
As the city quickly grew, so did the need for a cohesive law enforcement agency. It was in 1841 that the Houston Police Department
was founded. The first HPD badge issued bore the number "1."
early part of the 20th century was a time of enormous growth for both the City of Houston and for the Houston Police Department.
Due to growing traffic concerns in downtown Houston, the HPD purchased its first automobile in 1910 and created its first
traffic squad during that same year. Eleven years later, in 1921, the Houston Police Department installed the city's first traffic light. This traffic light was manually operated until 1927, when automatic
traffic lights were installed.
Houston became a larger metropolis throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the Houston Police Department found itself growing and
acquiring more technology to keep up with the city's fast pace. The first homicide division was established in 1930. During
that same year, the Houston Police Department purchased newer weapons to arm
their officers: standard issue .44 caliber revolvers and two Thompson submachine guns. In 1939, the department proudly presented
its first police academy class. The Houston Police Officers Association was created in 1945. This organization later became
the Houston Police Officers Union.
the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, the Houston Police Department also experienced its own highs and lows. The first Houston Police
Department bomb squad was created in 1966. The next year, 1967, saw massive riots at Texas Southern University. During the
riots, one officer was killed and nearly 500 students were arrested. It was as a result of these riots that the still-active
Community Relations Division was created within the Houston Police Department. In 1970, the Helicopter Patrol Division was
created with three leased helicopters. That year also marked the department's first purchase of bulletproof vests for their
officers. The Houston Police Department first Special Weapons and Tactical Squad (SWAT) was formed in 1975.