Sheriff Adrian Garcia was the featured speaker at this month’s HCDP Brown Bag Lunch. Before a great presentation by the Sheriff, there was added excitement when Diane Trautman announced she will be running for Harris County Tax
Assessor-Collector in 2010.
Garcia spoke about the “fastest 7 months in his career” going through various aspects of the job.
On Law Enforcement
Garcia’s main objective is to continue and improve upon a community-oriented policing model for HCSO. Stating that Houston Police Department has served as a model, Garcia hopes to bring to HCSO a more community-friendly atmosphere that protects the citizenry, while also protecting the public trust.
On Jail Overcrowding
Garcia’s spoke about what was covered by the Chron today regarding contracts with counties around the State to provide overcrowding relief. Committed to ensuring the security of inmates, while also ensuring the inmates are provided a safe facility that is up to standards, the Sheriff also stated he hopes that HCSO will work with the DAs office and the Judicial branch of county government to develop other standards regarding sentencing, bail, and external services for those who would best benefit from them. Apparently, the contracts were approved; however, DosCentavos did a little investigating of these facilities and not all is proper with them, including the fact that they are run by private contractors (GEO Group and CiviGenics, both whom have lawsuits pending for improper treatment). It’s not a bad idea, it’s just a liability issue in my book.
Machine Gun Boats and Helicopters
Sheriff Garcia also spoke about the “controversial” boats and choppers plan. He stated that he is interested in protecting citizens and providing his deputies with the necessary tools to fight crime. A helicopter, in this instance, could reduce the numberof deputies called to a felony car chase, while providing the deputies an eye in the sky. Garcia also cited an instance in which deputies were in the middle of a chase and left without air-assistance because HPDs and DPS’s equipment was unavailable. What a difference a tool like this could make.
And no, Sheriff Garcia wasn’t going to go fishing in the Ship Channel, unless it was to fish for dangerous people who may attack our oil, chemical, and shipping infrastructure. In a time when “security” is being spouted, one would wonder by Judge Emmett and others wouldn’t jump and investing in the tools necessary to ensuring a safe and secure port. As Sheriff Garcia stated, he was elected to ensure something doesn’t happen, not just to respond to what does.
Sheriff Garcia also mentioned that the HCSO is hiring: Jail staff and street patrol deputies.
Asked by a local LULAC member about 287(g) and how an undocumented person was arrested without having committed a crime on I-10 last year, Garcia spoke about his intent to go after those considered dangerous. He stated that when someone is arrested, then all bets are off and they will undergo a status check. I would figure this is through NCIC, which picks up any type of warrant or detainer, which really is S.O.P. There was no mention of the Obama Administration all-new 287(g) and where HCSO would fall. HCSO should not be a migra; however, I’m willing to give Sheriff Garcia the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his sincerity in ensuring a safe and secure county and a department we can trust.
A New Jail?
Sheriff Garcia stated that he doesn’t necessarily want to build a new jail, but the current facilities are growing older. He is committed to bringing jail operations to the highest standards regarding technology: computerized inmate and medical records, reducing the amount of paper needed to bail out an inmate, etc.
Sheriff Garcia has been able to make various changes to HCSO. It is no wonder the Baker Street Jail is finally up to par with the State. Things are much better, and I can see them getting better in the future.