Only a special and unusual type of person would turn down a promotion in order to work the graveyard shift.
For many years now, David Kidwell has been the Houston Police Department’s singular overnight patrol presence. He has made a habit of steadfastly checking up on businesses, making sure people roaming the streets in the wee hours have proper reason to be there and generally watching out for the well being of the City of Houston as most of its residents sleep.
As a result of his dedication to his job and his notably top-notch execution, Kidwell has on multiple occasions in the past been offered a day job with a promotion to sergeant. For mainly family-oriented reasons, he has each time chosen to remain on the night patrol.
But his efforts have by no means gone unnoticed.
Wishing to honor his officer’s admirable performance, Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell promoted the 45-year-old Kidwell to the rank of corporal in a ceremony last Wednesday morning at the City Hall. The move made the veteran of 24 years with Houston Police the department’s first-ever corporal.
It also allowed him to be moved up the ladder without having to move to days. That means Kidwell will continue to be out and about at night, checking doors that are left open or unlocked, lights that are on that typically aren’t and leaving business cards so business owners know he was there.
“This is completely out of the blue,” he said. “But any of the guys I serve with is just as deserving as I am; they’re probably the best group of guys we’ve had here.”
McNiell said it’s a good thing for Houston that his new corporal will continue working nights.
“David notices so many different things that are out of the norm,” he said. “It would be easy to not do a whole lot on that midnight shift, but you look at the logs he turns in every day and you can see he does a lot of good things.”
Kidwell started working with the HPD as a reserve in 1986 and became a patrolman in 1988. He and his wife Cheryl, who pinned her husband’s new badge on his uniform Wednesday, have a 21-year-old daughter, Jackie.
The decision to not work days was made in large part so Kidwell could see more of Jackie when she was young.
“I was able to spend evenings with her and my wife,” he said, “and one of us could always be home with her if necessary, like if she was sick.
“I don’t have any regrets; everything has worked out well.”
Kidwell has seen a lot of changes during his long stint with the HPD, but said the biggest ones have come from the top – namely former Chief Carlos Kirkman and current Chief McNiell.
“The two of them have expanded the department and increased the professionalism a lot,” he said. “And we have excellent relationships with all the other agencies around here.”
Houston’s first corporal said he gets a lot of satisfaction out of his role in the community.
“I like being able to help people,” Kidwell said. “That’s why we have officers on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And when you call for a Houston officer, you’re not going to have to wait long. We’ll get there quickly and give you the best help that we can.”
McNiell said the promotion was sort of the least he could do for his long-time officer.
“I appreciate his effort and his commitment to his job,” McNiell said. “This community is a lot safer with David around, and the city is very fortunate to have somebody who wants to work that shift and be committed to doing what he does.
“He definitely doesn’t sit on his butt.”
I appreciate his effort and his commitment to his job. Thiscommunity is a lot safer with David around, and the city is veryfortunate to have somebody who wants to work that shift and becommitted to doing what he does.”