Tough Competitor: HPD officer Jose Demeterio patrols Westchase District ready for anything.
At 5’5”, HPD officer Jose Demeterio is not the biggest police officer ever to wear the badge, but he just might be one of the baddest. “I practice jiu jitsu regularly, which has given me the mental training and confidence to deal with people much larger than myself. Not too much gives me pause,” he said with characteristic understatement. As a lifelong athlete and a member of the Westchase District Patrol, he hasn’t paused much so far.
In perpetual motion
Born in Lansing, Michigan, Demeterio moved with his chemist dad and schoolteacher mom in 1975 to Piti, Guam. He swam competitively for 18 years, competing in the 1987 South Pacific Games in New Caledonia and becoming an Olympic hopeful in 1988. “As a swimmer, I traveled the world,” he said. When not swimming, he enjoyed surfing typhoon-created waves and nighttime spearfishing scuba dives. Moving back to the states as a teenager, he graduated high school in Columbus, Ohio and earned a B.A. in history from State University of New York at Geneseo.
At age 23, having never played in high school, Demeterio returned to Guam to play semi-pro football as a receiver and defensive back. “My father would never let me play as a teenager, so once I was old enough I decided to give it a try,” he said. When his parents retired in Houston, he relocated again and coached for the Lone Star Swim Team in northwest Houston for several years before deciding he needed a career with more excitement.
At age 38, Demeterio attended the Houston Police Academy. “Sure, I was on the older end of my class, but there were cadets older than me,” he said. “As you might notice, I’m just a little bit competitive, so I enjoyed the challenge.” Upon graduation he was assigned to HPD’s North Shepherd storefront before joining the department’s crime reduction unit, where he worked with fellow Westchase District Patrol officers Jeff Sneed, Diego Morelli and Noe Alvarado. Last year, Demetrio took a Westside Division nightshift patrol in order to be closer to home.
A member of the Westchase District Patrol since August 2014, he said he enjoys that every day on the job is different. “Interacting with all types of people is an interesting challenge, whether it’s with people who are off their medications or with juveniles who think they’re adults,” he said. “I have to engage in a type of verbal judo, where I try to talk to suspects and get information from them without it seeming like I’m probing. I’m always learning.”
Demeterio said Westchase District enjoys a reputation as a relatively low-crime area in part because of a surprise factor held by the patrols. “Many crooks are not aware that we’re patrolling the area,” he said. “That gives us an advantage.” When not sneaking up on criminals, Demeterio and his wife are raising three children, perhaps his greatest challenge yet. “I have a 16-year-old daughter,” he said, smiling. “Nothing I’ve trained for has prepared me for that.”