Katy Police Chief William "Bill" Hastings proves himself a hero, braving floodwaters and organizing rescues, during Katy's hour of need after 40 years on the force.
Katy Magazine is proud to feature Katy Police Chief Bill Hastings for bravely serving his community for over 40 years, and for displaying heroism and leadership during Hurricane Harvey.
KATY MAGAZINE | December 2017
By Natalie Cook Clark Opening photo by Tiffany Lanza
Forty years of public service When Harvey’s floodwaters came to Katy, many people found themselves flooded out of their homes and work. Katy Police Chief Bill Hastings wasn’t just a hero during Harvey, he’s been a hero throughout his over 40 year career in public safety. His outstanding dedication to the city of Katy and it’s people, especially during the trials of Harvey, make him a worthy recipient of Katy Magazine’s 2017 People of the Year award.
This was not his first rodeo
Chief Hastings has experienced six natural disasters in Katy, but Harvey brought along with it a whole new set of problems. The city was faced with a large-scale need for shelters and evacuations. Sites had been identified in advance and as the need grew, schools and churches quickly opened their doors.
Hastings, like many, had to walk to work in high water. In addition to overseeing the operations of the Katy Police Department that increased patrols, answered all calls, and rescued citizens who drove into high water, he was instrumental in setting up housing for the DPS officers who moved in and out of the city during the disaster and for several weeks afterwards. He worked 98 hours of overtime, just as many others worked overtime to ensure the people of Katy were safe.
“All Katy Police Officers, KPD Dispatchers, and KPD personnel did a wonderful job of supporting our citizens,” says Hastings. “Along with all City Personnel and Maria Galvez (who worked 160 hours of overtime) she is the Emergency Management Coordinator.”
About Chief Hastings
Hastings is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and is a graduate of the University of Houston Criminal Justice Academy, and holds a Master of Peace Officer certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. While this is all very impressive, it's Hasting’s varied experience and connections with people that have made him great. He began his career as a firefighter for the Village Fire Department in Houston. Hastings didn’t just stick with fire-fighting but continued to broaden his career to include arson investigator, volunteer fire fighter, Fire Marshall, paramedic for both Katy EMS and Katy Fire Department and was instrumental in the merging of Katy EMS with Katy Fire Department. He started his law enforcement career in 1984 and joined the Katy Police Department in 1986. His time included a seven-year assignment to Harris County Organized Narcotics Task Force and served as a K-9 Officer for Katy Police Department. With his varied experiences in public safety he served as the City of Katy Director of Emergency Management. In February of 2009 he was promoted to Katy Police Chief.
Bill Hastings looks great on paper, but he also has an ability to lead and motivate while staying humble and sincere. “Everyone I work with makes me look very smart and really good,” said Hastings, who hates to take credit for his good deeds. In looking back at his career he says, “I enjoyed everything but mostly the people, helping the people.”
Better prepared for the future
While the city was prepared thanks to public safety officials like Hastings, Harvey showed the need to be even more prepared in the future. Hastings, with the assistance of Public Works KPD has received additional high water vehicles to use if needed.
Aside from his work during Harvey, Hastings is widely known for being the catalyst in getting the “In God We Trust” decals added to the back of Katy patrol cars. “We (Police Dept. Personnel) wanted to add the decal to the cars for several years. Mayor Hughes was very receptive and supportive and launched the process for us.” explains Hastings. “We were proud to have the Mayor support us in this effort. It is a renewal of Faith in our community.”
The man behind the badge
Bill and Susan Hastings have lived in Katy since 1971. “I have five children and all my children are married so this gives us 10!” says Hastings. They now have seven grandchildren with two more on the way. Bill and Susan Hastings have been married for 30 years. While Bill may be modest, Susan is very proud of her husband’s accomplishments and quick to brag on him. Photo: Susan and Bill Hastings
Bill Hastings may be the Chief of Police for the Katy Police Department but above all he is a citizen of Katy, Texas. “I love Katy. It’s the people and community spirit that make it special. Whether it’s a large scale crisis, like Harvey or something isolated to an individual the general spirit of the city and it’s people is to serve and help.”
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