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Posts Tagged ‘Sheriff’

Law enforcement for same sex marriage

Bravo, y’all. The Democratic sheriffs of Texas’ two most populous counties have signed on with more than 60 other Texas law enforcement officials and first responders saying the state’s ban on same sex marriage not only disrespects but endangers front-line public safety officers. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia lent […]

Precinct analysis: Third parties revisited

Politico has a question. Is Austin’s Travis County the nation’s Libertarian Party stronghold? The co-founders of a Libertarian political action committee based there make that case, arguing that the Texas locale is the “most Libertarian large county in America.” Wes Benedict and Arthur DiBianca of Libertarian Booster PAC note that 31 Libertarian candidates were on […]

Alan Rosen: A Call To Protect Our Children

The following is from a series of guest posts that I will be presenting over the next few weeks. Every day, the internet opens up new doors for communication, commerce, and the betterment of all our lives. But, with great advances in technology come huge risks and the responsibility rests with each of us to […]

Races I’ll be watching for tonight

As noted this morning, I will be participating in a live chat tonight beginning at 7 PM at the Chron election blog. I hope you’ll come by and ask some questions about what happened today. There are many races to keep track of. Here’s a brief guide to some of the one’s I’ll be watching […]

Better budget news

For the city. The city of Houston may have $21 million more in income in the coming fiscal year than it had planned on before Wednesday. That’s when it got the news that the Harris County Appraisal District projects that taxable values in the city — and by extension, the amount of taxes it collects […]

Non-filers in Harris County races

As of today, the following candidates for county offices in Harris County have not filed campaign finance reports with the County Clerk: Candidates for Sheriff Charles Massey El (D) Guy Clark (R, formerly D) Daniel Lemkuil (R) Candidates for HCDE Jarvis Johnson (D) Silvia Mintz (D) Timothy Rose (R) Tom Cruz (R) Candidates for County […]

Fewer inmate deaths

More good news for the Sheriff’s office. The number of inmates who have died while in Harris County detention has plummeted during the last three years, a decline that Sheriff Adrian Garcia described as “deeply satisfying” but could not explain. Three county prisoners died last year, down from 11 in 2010, and 16 in 2009, […]

Inmate outsourcing on the way out

This is unequivocally good news. Dropping inmate numbers at the Harris County Jail will let the county end its nearly 5-year-old practice of shipping overflow inmates to Louisiana and other Texas counties within days, Sheriff Adrian Garcia said this week. The jail population has fallen 31 percent since 2008, to 8,573 inmates. The jail has […]

Disciplining deputies

The Chron has a long story about the disciplinary issues at the Sheriff’s Department. A Houston Chronicle review of Sheriff’s Office discipline reports from 2007 to August provides a sobering look into a department plagued by deputies, jailers and civilians accused of violating laws they are charged to enforce and breaking department policies more than […]

Still cleaning up Tommy Thomas’ mess

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 – […]

There’s an app for reporting crimes

From the Chron’s Newswatch blog: The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Adrian Garcia has launched a series of free smartphone apps that will allow residents to report any crime tips or suspicious activities by sending text messages, emails, photos and video attachments. It’s called iWatchHarrisCounty and is part of the department’s “If You See […]

Suit against Sheriff’s office dismissed

From the Chron: A lawsuit filed by the former technology director for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, who had contended he was fired because he revealed its alleged plan to hack into the county government computer network, has been dismissed. A district judge agreed with county attorneys that Wilfrido Mata, who was fired last May, […]

Still talking about jail overcrowding

Here’s another op-ed about jail overcrowding in Harris County and what to do about it. It’s all familiar stuff – we’ve only been talking about this for a million years or so – but I was struck by what wasn’t said. Harris County has made strides to safely reduce the jail population. Harris County District […]

Why aren’t we tracking this?

This sounds like a job for the Legislature. The number of parolees being tracked with ankle monitors in Texas has mushroomed to nearly 3,000 in the last two years. About 600 reside in Harris County. The county also has 150 adult probationers and 32 juvenile probationers with the devices. But so far the monitors have […]

Budget testimony from the Sheriff’s office

In addition to all of the education and HHSC-related testimony before the Senate Finance Committee this week, law enforcement agencies who will be affected by cuts to mental health services were also heard from. Here’s a press release sent out by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia about what they had to say: The Harris County […]

Cuts here mean hikes there

The only problem with this AP story is the headline, “Texas budget cuts may shift burden to locals”. There’s no “may” about it – the Pitts budget would absolutely shift a huge burden to local governments. Cuts set off a domino effect: Historically, public schools raise property taxes when the state education agency sends smaller […]

State cuts will equal local costs

Grits is absolutely right: Cuts to state mental hospitals would be a massive unfunded mandate for county jails. [S]heriffs across Texas are increasingly frustrated and worried about the ever-decreasing amount of bed space available at state mental hospitals. Too often, when mentally ill offenders come to their jails, sheriffs who are required to provide appropriate […]

The cost of jailing parole violators

We sure do spend a lot of money putting people in jail that don’t really need to be there. Each month, an average of 2,286 state parole violators are housed in Texas jails, a policy costing taxpayers at least $42 million a year. Harris County has the largest tab — estimated at $7.6 million. This […]

How much would you pay for those inmates?

Harris County has a new plan for dealing with its overflow jail population. Under the new plan, the county’s purchasing agent would ask for all interested bidders to submit their lowest prices for taking inmates, much like it does for the construction of a road. The bid specifications state that the contract is worth as […]

The county’s budget woes

Don’t look now, but Harris County is running really low on cash. The $154 million reserve fund Harris County started its fiscal year with is expected to be nearly gone by March as it gets spent to cover shortfalls in property tax collections. Budget projections released Tuesday show the county entering the fiscal year that […]

Grits visits the Harris County jail

Here’s a thoughtful post by Scott Henson on his visit to the Harris County jail and the proposed booking center, which was touted as a gateway primarily for arrestees with mental health issues. While acknowledging the need for more resources there, Scott hits upon an issue that I don’t think has gotten adequate discussion. Both […]

Eversole and Radack get jail overcrowding religion

Actually, what County Commissioners Jerry Eversole and Steve Radack have is a case of criticize-the-Sheriff-itis. Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole implied at meeting earlier today that the county’s sheriff, Adrian Garcia, acted improperly and wasted tax payer money when he moved inmates from a jail in Lousiana to a jail in Texas. “If I were […]

More on the proposed booking center

On the Houston Politics blog, Chris Moran follows up on his reporting about the new “booking center” proposal with information about how it may play out in Commissioners Court. The city of Houston has designated $31 million to help fund the county’s booking center, where Houston police would bring all of its arrestees and close […]

The 287(g) committee

Sheriff Adrian Garcia has formed a citizens advisory panel on how to screen for undocumented immigrants in the jails. The advisory committee will not debate whether to continue the screening program, Garcia said. It will suggest ways he can improve the 287(g) program, which deputizes county jailers to assume some federal immigration enforcement functions. Critics […]

Jail passes another state inspection

Good news for the Harris County jails: They passed another surprise state inspection by a Texas Commission on Jail Standards team last week. “This certificate of compliance is a direct result of your department’s commitment to excellence and further attests, signifies and demonstrates your department’s dedication and professionalism in maintaining a safe, secure and sanitary […]

Still focusing on overtime

Mayor Annise Parker talks again about trying to control HPD and HFD overtime costs as a way of bridging the city’s budget shortfall. Mayor Annise Parker provided an early picture of how she intends to close a $140 million budget gap to City Council Wednesday, indicating she will steer the city away from layoffs and […]

HPD and HFD overtime

As is the case with the Harris County Sheriff’s office, the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department spend a lot of money on overtime. A Houston Chronicle analysis shows that most of the money — $50 million — went to the Houston Police Department, long bedeviled by staffing shortages while trying to cover the […]

Some of my best friends are white people

I’ve been trying to figure out this new group for Caucasian Sheriff’s deputies. I’ve had the good fortune to have worked for an organization that takes diversity and inclusiveness seriously. They had a number of employee-created networking groups that were one part mentoring, one part equal opportunity, and one part just a recognition that there […]

Fixing overtime

The Sunday Chron had a cover story about overtime expenses in the Sheriff’s department. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office spent $32.6 million on overtime in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s first year as the county’s top lawman, $22.6 million of it at the four downtown jails, according to his office. In a 4,300-employee department, the 67 who […]

First steps in dealing with jail overcrowding

They’re baby steps, but they’re in the right direction. The first of 20 county inmates to get their sentences reduced by two-thirds for completing job training will get out of jail Monday. The experiment marks Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s first tentative step away from the long-standing practice of two days’ credit for each day served in […]

Here comes the county budget

Considering how gloom-and-doomy the reports have been, this is downright sunny. Commissioners Court today will consider a $1.4 billion budget that cuts spending by about 3.2 percent from the fiscal year that ended on Feb. 28. The spending blueprint does not call for a property tax increase or layoffs. The court will set the property […]

A county budget threefer

Three items of interest in the news that relate to the Harris County budget. – Contemplating cremation Commissioners Court this morning discussed possibly changing to a cremate-first policy at Harris County’s public cemetery. A report from the cemetery director projects that the county’s 18.7-acre cemetery will be full some time next year, necessitating the purchase […]

The county budget blues

The news keeps being bad. Not unexpected, but bad. During hearings last month, department heads said worst-case scenarios could mean layoffs, less mosquito spraying, tax office closures and fewer resources to serve a still-growing county population. County Auditor Barbara Schott’s $1.36 billion revenue forecast is close to that worst-case scenario. The county is projected to […]

SWAT team

I’m not sure about this. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is starting an elite “high-risk” squad with the aim of developing it into a full-fledged SWAT team. Maj. Bob Doguim began soliciting applications for the eight-member team two weeks ago, just about the time his boss, Sheriff Adrian Garcia, was preparing a budget plan that […]