Harris County has ‘limited resources’ to arrest felons still on the streets

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – There are currently 50,672 arrest warrants open, according to records obtained from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. About 25,292 of them were charged with felony or most serious crimes. More than 700 people accused of murder have public arrest warrants and remain on the streets or outside of the criminal justice system here.

Lieutenant Kacey Haberland, who works in the criminal investigation division, admits his team is overwhelmed.

“It’s a high number,” Haberland said. “It’s not good for anyone to commit a violent crime, but only so many investigators and officers can carry out these orders.”

According to Haberland, this does not mean that more than 700 murder suspects are roaming our streets. He said some suspects are being held in other locations pending extradition to Harris County. However, he did not know how much. However, he predicts there are hundreds.

Longtime and beloved Cracker Barrel employee Robin Baucom, 59, was fatally shot in January while protecting another employee at work during a targeted robbery.

SEE MORE: Cracker manager Barrel shot dead trying to protect staff ‘just trying to make a living’

Her alleged killer, Nathan Humphrey, was later killed by congressmen trying to arrest him. Humphrey had five wanted warrants for his arrest at the time of the murder – three for felonies. According to court documents, Humphrey had a violent criminal past. He was charged with aggravated assault against a family member and burglary for allegedly breaking into his girlfriend’s home and assaulting her more than four months before the Cracker Barrel shooting.

It was not until he was charged with murder that he became the subject of priority hunting. Baucom’s sister, Gail, is left wondering if her sister would still be alive if the officers had tried to arrest Humphrey sooner.

“You wonder why. What can be done?” Gail asked. “Does anyone care if that can be changed? You don’t care what happens to innocent people?”

ABC13 found that less than 10% of people with warrants were arrested each month in 2021. While arrests were ongoing, there were about 4,000 to 6,000 new warrants per month.

“We are in a negative situation,” Haberland said.

The majority of arrests come from vehicle stops. However, ABC13 wants to know how many congressmen go out and arrest people on orders each day.

SEE MORE: Law enforcement officers leave departments at incredible speed

Records show that only 17 investigators and sergeants in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s wanted criminal division are working to find wanted offenders. This means that there are currently just over a dozen people responsible for tracing more than 25,000 suspects wanted for felony crimes.

Other agencies such as the Houston Police Department can also issue subpoenas. With limited staff, Haberland says it focuses on the most violent criminals.

“We have so many homicides in Harris County, unincorporated, or the city of Houston, that they focus primarily on homicides,” Haberland said.

Because that takes precedence, that means people wanted for other crimes, like in the case of Humphrey, a convicted felon wanted for assault and break-in girlfriend’s apartment, will be put into the furnace later.

“It should be a priority, I’ll be the first to say it, but there aren’t enough people,” Haberland said.

Haberland said an increase in crime, not enough officers to enforce the order, and external factors such as backlogs of court work, are reasons they have not been able to keep up, and in turn victims like Robin Baucom, they lost their lives to senseless violence.

SEE MORE: Mayor Sylvester Turner Announces $44 Million ‘One Safe Houston’ Crime Reduction Initiative

“Until everything is done to tackle the crime and give the police what they need – the support, the money, the extra effort to put people on the streets, it will be fine,” Gail said. getting worse”. It can happen to anyone. And when it happens to your family, you realize how much change needs to be. “

The Harris County Commissioner’s Court approved a $2.1 billion budget earlier this month. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez requested 19 additional subpoenas in the subpoenas division and 12 civil cases specialists to handle administrative duties.

However, not a single coin was approved to add staff to the warrants department. ABC13 has reached out to Gonzalez for the numbers involved, and residents deserve to know when a change will be made.

“We are not going to give up and we are working closely with HPD and will try to develop partnerships to expand our reach and capture more wanted criminals,” Gonzalez said.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. Copyright Registered. Harris County has ‘limited resources’ to arrest felons still on the streets

Dais Johnston

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