Applicants with five or more years of full-time employment as a peace officer licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). There is no military or education requirement.

Applicants with at least three years but less than five years of full-time employment as a peace officer licensed by TCOLE, must have one of the below:

  1. A minimum of 18 months active duty in the United States armed forces and received an honorable discharge;
  2. OR

  3. At least 52 hours of college credit with at least a 2.0 grade point average.

Slightly fewer than 52 hours of college credit? You may still qualify, call (713) 308-1300 to learn more.

Apply Today – a  Lateral Class is scheduled to begin in August 2017. Go to the Application Process section of this website and follow the directions.

OUT-OF-STATE LATERAL APPLICANTS without a TCOLE license must obtain their license prior to the start of the Lateral class by following TCOLE established guidelines (see


Salary will be based on your years of law enforcement experience.

  • With three years of service, you will earn the salary of a third year officer.
  • With four years of service, you will earn the salary of a fourth year officer.
  • With five or more years of service, you will earn the salary of a fifth year officer.

Incentive Pay

  Equipment Allowance Education Pay  
  Shift Differential Pay Bilingual Pay  
  Weekend Pay Motorcycle Allowance  
  Patrol Pay Clothing Allowance  
  Investigative Pay Special Duty Pay  

As each situation is unique, we recommend you contact our Lateral Specialist, Sergeant Brett Hatton, (713) 308-1300. He can provide additional information on requirements and pay.


As a lateral police officer, you will attend our paid lateral academy class. This academy class is designed to prepare law enforcement professionals for working at the Houston Police Department. The lateral academy class is nine weeks.


As the fifth largest agency in nation, the Houston Police Department employs over 5,200 sworn officers and has opportunities in over forty-five divisions. This includes Patrol, Homicide, Bomb Squad, Mounted Patrol, SWAT, Helicopters, Gangs, Financial Crimes, Victim Services, Criminal Intelligence, Dive Team, Bike Patrol, Vice, K-9, Motorcycle Detail, Juvenile, Missing Persons, Narcotics, as well as other specialized units. Regardless of the assignment, you will work in an environment that fosters leadership, teamwork and service to the community.

After an initial three-year period as a patrol officer, you will be eligible to apply to other divisions. You will also be eligible for the Sergeant’s test five years from your hire date and may be eligible to promote to the rank of Lieutenant and Captain.