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In June of 1994, at the annual Crockett, Texas reunion of Retired Houston Police Officers. A group of retired officers having dinner discussed the need for a retired officers association to represent retired officers of the Houston Police Department.
On August 3, 1994 an organizational meeting was held in the conference room of the Houston Police Officers Pension System, 602 Sawyer Street in Houston, Texas. Present at this meeting were the following W.G. Eickenhorst, George Harman, J.D. Evans, Carmen Brumley, John Lawson, C.E. Smith, Ken Defoor, Donny McManness, Jack Guy, R.B. Sanford, Floyd Nettles, Bobby Lott, Haney P. Wilkerson, H.P. Laird, F.W. Turbeville, Eli Rivera, Jack Collins, Mike Mitchell, John Adams, Wilfred Navarro, Jr. Chester Massey, E.E. Hasford, W.E. Mathews, Doris Ernest, D.J. Horn, Judy Baker, Pat Franey and L.N. Zoch.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the formation of an organization composed of retired officers, which would dedicate itself to improving pension and other benefits for retirees and surviving spouses.
In 1994 all officers that had retired prior to July 1, 1986 were receiving a pension benefit of 30% of base pay that the officer was receiving at the time of his/her retirement, based on twenty years of service.
On July 1, 1986 the statute was amended for officers retiring after July 1, 1988 to receive 40% of their base pay upon retirement, after twenty years of service. Officers who retired after July 1, 1988 received a pension benefit of 45% of their base pay upon retirement, after twenty years of service.
Retirees present at the organizational meeting recognized that there was a need for an organization to be formed and voted to officially organize the Houston Police Retired Officers Association.
The following were elected to service on the Executive Board of Directors. President W.G. Eickenhorst, First Vice President Jack Collins, Treasurer John Adams, Secretary James D. Evans. Board of Directors Wilfred Navarro, C.E. Smith, Ken DeFoor, Haney P. Wilkerson, Henry M. "Hank" Laird, Carman Brumley, and Jack W. Guy. The newly elected board of directors also adopted by-Laws. The secretary was instructed to file the necessary forms with the Texas Secretary of State and the Harris County Court House.
Membership in the HPROA grew from the beginning, the minutes of the November 17, 1994 reflect that Ms. Dana Gerard had been employed as a part time secretary and membership was 297 members and $29,580.00 had been collected in dues and donations.
Since its inception and through our lobbying efforts with the Texas Legislature in Austin, and with Houston City Council we have managed to improve the following pension benefits. In 1995 the law was changed permitting surviving spouses of deceased officers to remarry and continue receiving pension benefits. In 1997 the statute was amended for all police officers to receive 50% of their base pay for the first twenty years of service.
The HPROA was also instrumental in increasing the cost of living benefit to a minimum of 3% per year. In 1998 a lump sum benefit payment of $5,000.00 was made to all current retirees and beneficiaries and eliminated the 80% benefit maximum. In 1999 statutes were amended to require that the two retired members on the Houston Police Officers Pension System board of trustees would be elected by the general membership, instead of being appointed. Also to provide retirees a 13th pension benefit when meeting certain requirements. In 1999 and 2000 all retirees and surviving spouses received a 13th check.
In 2001 the state statute was amended for all retirees to receive 55% of base pay for the first twenty years of service, and insurance stipend was increased to $150.00 per member.
The HPROA, is recognized by all elected officials, the general public, and members of the Law Enforcement Community as the representatives of all Houston Police Department retired officers.