Newly appointed police Chief Jose Noe Diaz started his new job March 18. Diaz worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety for 23 years and as a Texas Ranger for 11 years, according to Katy City Council. Diaz also spent time as a deputy constable for Harris County Precinct 5 and as a correctional officer at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. When appointed, Diaz said he wanted to increase retention and reduce turnover rates in the department. Diaz is working alongside public safety departments, including the Council to keep the community safe. This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
What is your strategy to reduce turnover rates in the department?
Empowering the already great staff that I inherited with an open-door policy and discussing anything we can’t agree on. We will try to meet police officers in the middle to keep them happy in our department instead of going to work for someone else. I appreciate them here. They are all part of the community and I’d love for all of them to live in the city because that naturally comes with ownership, meaning their kids go to school here, their homes are here and their trash gets picked up here. My strategy is to maintain what I have now and implement a new philosophy of being kinder and more deliberate on how we deliver things with tact.
Are there any issues that come to mind where you could meet them in the middle?
I’m trying to maintain our already incredible [Field Training Officer] program, but improve it by potentially adding some certificate pay for the FTO officers and accommodate everyone involved because it is not an easy process. It is a calling to train someone else, especially when officers go through our mini academy where they experience mock scenarios, firearms training and high-stress situations. With a great FTO program, people here don’t have to worry about someone with no experience going out on the field and answering their call at night, and officers will feel confident in their ability to keep the community safe.
What is the expected growth in the department over the next five years?
I’d like to have it grow by seven to 10 police officers in the next five years. I don’t want to have an officer deficit as we grow. New subdivisions come into our community, so we need to be responsive to those areas and make sure that it is well patrolled and that response times are low. People in Cane Island need to have the same response time as the people who live here on Drexel Street, which is really close to the police department.
How will you keep response times low in the Katy area?
The city is ever growing, so we are going to try to split the city into four quadrants. When a police officer checks in, they will check in to their quadrant because I want the people in Cane Island or in the Reserve or in Woodcreek Reserve or any other communities to know the officer. With assigned quadrants, the community will have enough facetime to build equity with them. It needs to be someone they can trust, a positive, encouraging authority figure— not a finger wagger. That is how we as a community develop relationships. When bad things happen, people will feel comfortable enough to come to us and will trust us to do the right thing, always.
What else do you want to share?
I’m fortunate and blessed to have been selected through the process. It was arduous—not easy. But with a lot of prayer and a lot of studying, I’m here, so I welcome the opportunity. I’ve been riding with my troops during night and day shifts and getting here real early because that is what is expected of a police chief. I’m here to work.