My Montrose: HPD Officer Juan Chavez-Resendiz
In addition to patrolling the Montrose area during his regular shift, Officer Chavez-Resendiz is part of the Montrose Management District’s special patrol team, which provides seven-day-a-week, 16-hour-a-day security through 14 part-time police officers.
You grew up in the Montrose area, right?
I did. My family lived on Stanford Street, on the top floor of a house, and then we moved to Lovett Boulevard. My parents worked in landscaping in Montrose and the Heights. I went to Wilson Elementary, Wharton Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, and Lamar High School. And I still live in the neighborhood, on West Polk Street.
I heard that you had some problems with gangs when you were growing up.
Yeah, that was when I was at Lincoln [Middle School]. All the gang members would hang out there after school, and they’d always ask me, ‘Hey, want to join our gang?’ I was never into it, never wanted to do it. They used to wait for me outside of school and kept asking me, saying that if I didn’t join they would beat me up. My house was half a block away, but to avoid them I used to go two blocks around the back to get to my house. I had to be creative.
Why did you decide to join the Houston Police Department?
I joined at the age of 26. I just always wanted to be a police officer—I grew up in Montrose, and I always wanted to come back and patrol it. I enjoy living here, and I enjoy working with the people there.
What is your approach to policing?
I talk to people around the neighborhood, try to get to know them. I go around to businesses, say hi. I enjoy going to work—I wake up, and I think, well, today I’m going to talk to this person, or I’m going to visit this business, just to see how they’re doing, make sure everything is going well.
What are the biggest challenges you face doing your job?
The hardest part is not being able to help people when they get their car broken into. There’s only so much I can do for that person, especially if I don’t have a suspect and there isn’t much evidence. I can see the pain in people’s faces. I know some people don’t have the money to fix their car. Or somebody’s $3,000 laptop with all their work on it got stolen.
You joined HPD in 2011—how have you seen Montrose change between then and now?
There’s a lot more people, a lot more apartment complexes, a lot more traffic, a lot more little bars and restaurants. It feels like it’s more lively every Sunday. There’s a lot of people walking around, a lot of people going out to eat. On the negative side, I’ve seen an increase in the number of break-ins of vehicles and bars.
What can people in Montrose do to prevent burglaries?
You need to know your neighbors. That’s very important. Also, if you see something suspicious, or someone strange, call the police. Even if we just drive by in a patrol car, that will deter any potential criminals. People shouldn’t be afraid of calling the police. You’re not bothering us—that’s what we’re here for. Even if it’s just a simple suspicious event, they should just call it in. That helps us a lot.