Dallas police and fire departments are looking to hire recruits in Houston.
Despite a pool of candidates smaller than the chief likes, the Houston Police Department remains Texas’ largest police force. However, they have competition for local recruits.
“I wouldn’t say (Dallas is) better,” Senior Corporal Dane White, a Dallas police recruiter. “I would say different.”
White is a former detective who even recruited his travel partner. Officer Carlos Delafuentes is an energetic, young former hockey player who still plays.
“I play everything but goalie (because) I don’t like to get shot at,” Delafuentes said.
Instead, he and Cpl. White are shooting flyers at prospects in Houston, Austin, San Antonio even Anaheim, Calif. Problems between police and communities make it hard to find future cops, and many of the willing simply can’t cut it, they said.
“That is very hard,” Delafuentes said. “For a test that we have in Dallas we could easily have 100 applicants come in and we dwindle down to about 50 possible. (The) next thing you know we’re at five applicants.”
So, Dallas is offering cadets roughly $2,000 base pay more than HPD. However, KHOU 11 News researchers found that cadets who finish training earn up to $8,000 more in Houston.
“To me, there’s not (a rivalry),” Cpl. White said.
Both sides see opportunity. Since different departments have different standards, some who miss out in Houston, make it in North Texas, recruiters said.
“It’s kind of like a university,” said Rachael Bell, a native Houstonian and current Dallas firefighter. “You don’t just want people from one area. We like to diversify (our) fire department and sometimes the best and finest are in different locations.”
DFD is in Houston recruiting, too. They are looking for diversity and see no better place than Houston.
Both departments will be at the Houston Marriott South-Hobby Airport testing applicants Friday.