Some stains take a long time to scrub out.
The U.S. Justice Department is proceeding with an investigation of Harris County sheriff’s operations, after county leaders refused to enter into a civil rights settlement with the government or hire an independent monitor.
The investigation was sparked by the discovery of emails from sheriff’s commanders – before Sheriff Adrian Garcia took office – that disparaged religious, racial and ethnic groups. The inquiry also was prompted by the treatment of members of a Sikh family detained in late 2008 after calling deputies to their home to investigate a burglary.
County Attorney Vince Ryan in July asked the Commissioners Court to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Justice Department that would have ended the investigation.
The agreement required the department to hire an internal affairs expert to review use of force and internal affairs procedures, as well as developing “diversity and cross-cultural awareness” training for new cadets and existing deputies.
The agreement also called for a written report after an eight-month review, which will serve as an outline to improve the handling of complaints against deputies from the public, how internal investigations are conducted and the training of officers who do them.
Nancy Sims has a concise summary. County Judge Ed Emmett called the agreement “onerous”, and I’m sure it is. Steve Radack whined that county people should be the ones overseeing county people. All I can say is that if county people had done a better job of that while Tommy Thomas was in office, we wouldn’t be in this spot now.