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Two members of the Texas City Police Department just completed a two week course in Administration and Management Training with The Center for American and International Law. Sgt. Jose – Joe – Saldivar was promoted to the rank of Sergeant effective July 1st 2016. His law enforcement career with the Texas City Police Department began February of 1993 as a patrol officer. He worked his way up to Corporal, and in 2006 he was selected as a Detective and spent the next 10 years in the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). As an investigator he worked hundreds of cases, and was the lead Detective in many child abuse cases. He is married with 5 children and 3 grandchildren.
I spoke with him at length regarding the training he and 37 newly appointed Sergeants from all over Texas completed recently. This was the second class ever held and their workbook comes from the US Army Leadership Field Manual. The classes, also sponsored by the Texas Municipal League provided the students with comprehensive classes in Risk Management, Liability, Communication, Critical Thinking, Diversity in the Workplace and the Community, and a very special class about how to Build and Maintain Your Legacy.
The role of Sergeant requires that the officer not only oversees the men and women on the shift but he is out in the field, present at all major calls and communicating up the chain of command as well as down. “The most important part of this job is making sure that everybody knows everything. When a major call comes in, it is my job to control the scene, make sure my people are safe, and at the same time, communicate exactly what is happening directly to my Lieutenant, who will inform his Captain, who keeps the Chief informed at all times; day or night.” He also takes complaints and he takes them very seriously. “ When someone comes in with a concern or a complaint, it is important that I give them my full attention. A lot of times they just need to talk. They will tell me they don’t want to get anyone in trouble when I had them the form but they want me to know what happened to them so that I can take that feedback and make sure the officers understand how their actions are interpreted.”
Sergeant David Heckerd, has been on the job for 4 months. He joined the Texas City Police Department nine years ago and found the training program to be exceptional; providing him with new ways to think about how to approach the myriad situations that officers face every day on the job. Sgt. Heckerd comes to us from Lafayette Louisiana by way of Houston. When I asked him what inspired him to become a police officer, his answer was so genuine; so sincere, I was truly touched. It seems Sgt. Heckerd was an only child and he spent much of his time buried in comic books. From those comic books came a desire to fight crime, to be a force for good in this world and to serve as a role model for others wanting to make a difference in the world.
This is a quality that I have seen, in different forms, but consistently throughout this police force. With every interview I do, I am taken with the distinct impression that these men and women are unique in their desire to do something important; something that moves us all toward a better way of being. There is a quality each of them shares that allows them to stay true to their purpose and walk confidently and compassionately through the day as they contend with the challenges that come with the job. They have chosen a job that can never be predictable, where training never ends and insight into the human condition is paramount. Sgt. Told me that his time as a patrol officer has given him the confidence he needed to become a leader. His nine years on patrol gave him an important perspective that allows him to communicate well with the officers he is responsible for. Knowing and respecting the job these men and women do every night as well as appreciating the support they require to do their jobs well; that is what makes a good leader.
When I asked Sgt. Heckerd what advice he might have for the citizens he serves and immediately he said “Yes Ma’am! Please tell them to lock their vehicles every time they park and especially at night. You would not believe how many people call us and they didn’t lock their car door and somebody has taken all their stuff…money, rings, all kinds of valuable stuff.” Since I am a guilty party, I promised I would definitely share those words of wisdom with our readers. Sgt. Heckerd was just about to begin his night shift so I thanked him for his time and as he walked me to my car I realized again how young and polite and sincere he is. And I could not help but think how truly fortunate we are to have the caliber of individuals Sgt. Heckerd and Sgt. Saldivar are.
So, as you move through your day, keep in mind these people who take on the responsibility of keeping us all safe and perhaps drive a little slower, move over when you hear a siren; slow down when passing a traffic stop. And if you are witnessing an incident where a police office is confronting an individual, stay back out of the way – an audience can often escalate a situation. If you believe you are seeing an officer behaving in a manner that concerns you, before you pull out your phone and start recording, call 911 and report your concerns. See something – say something. And for heaven’s sake when you arrive at your destination by all means lock your car doors!

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