The trustees approved $2.6 million in funding for Harris Safe County on Nov. 30. This initiative divides 96 deputy levels among seven areas that have been identified as high-crime. They are on patrol during the specific time that the sheriff’s office has determined is problematic. Program work will be overtime for delegates.
During the commissioner’s court meeting, both Commissioner Jack Cagle and Commissioner Tom Ramsey announced they hoped the police would be involved.
“I do not know who spoke to the officers, but there is no mention of them in this document and I would like to reiterate that we need more cooperation,” Cagle said.
In response, both Commissioner Adrian Garcia and Judge Lina Hidalgo of Harris County said they were notified by the sheriff’s office that officers were on board.
“I asked that question, I think we all did, and Major Cotter spoke to the police,” Hidalgo said. “That would allow them to use both police deputies from the area concerned and sheriff deputies and they’ve been in touch with each sheriff.”
This week, virtually all of the officers attended the same press conference at Crime Stoppers. ABC13 asked if they felt the money they were being offered to reduce crime was helpful.
“During the meeting, when they said we were on the train, officers, I had no idea about that,” Mark Herman said in response.
ABC13 has been related to all eight constants and can be related to six constants. All the districts we’ve been told they didn’t know about Harris County Safe either until the commissioners met. All six said they did not participate, many citing limited resources.
“It’s standard practice that we’ve developed in this county,” Cagle said Thursday. “In the name of transparency. In the name of openness. We hide too many things. We surprise the public with so many things. We say one thing after another. Unfortunately, that’s the job. Business as usual, and citizens are the ones who are suffering.”
ABC13 contacted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office multiple times over a three-day period to try to learn about the disconnect. Initially, on Tuesday, a spokesman said the initiative involved only the sheriff’s office. On Thursday, the same spokesman said officers were believed to be involved and that they had tried to tell them about Harris County Safe. We asked how many days since the program started to be fully staffed as planned but did not receive an answer.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says the program is going well and that it is working to compile data from the first month. At least two officers said they received an information document from the county about the initiative Wednesday morning explaining how their department could get involved.
“I’m going to support it anyway because it’s a good program, but it could have been a better program if frontline people were involved,” Cagle said.
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https://abc13.com/hcso-what-is-harris-county-safe-program-to-reduce-crime/11465230/ Harris County $2.6M Crime Initiative Leaves Unrest in the Dark