Today’s firestorm ignited by Commissioner Cagle has absolutely nothing to do with law enforcement. It is a straight-up, partisan, political hit by a commissioner who just spent $175,000 of his campaign money trying to un-elect his Democratic colleague – and lost. Now he has turned his sights on another Democratic colleague.
If anything, the study I have proposed will lead to more law enforcement and more safety, not less. As a career law enforcement officer, I look forward to debating the commissioner, who has never served in law enforcement, on the merits of this proposal. But let’s stick to the facts and not spread misinformation and fear.
I have always supported a neighborhood’s decision to enter into a contract with a Constable’s Office or with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and there’s absolutely no action being proposed to change this.
A study is prudent during a time when counties are under a tax revenue cap imposed by the legislature. We need to better understand how resources are being allocated. We need to ensure our law enforcement resources are deployed in a manner that provides reliable and equitable public safety.
Rice University’s Kinder Institute published a study in 2018 and earlier UH’s Center for Public Policy also did a study through the Greater Houston Partnership that found that the number of agencies we have in Harris County create multiple overlap in services and duplicative costs.
Citizens are owed an evaluation of how the program operates in each Constable precinct, the efficacy of the program, its full impact on the County budget, its impact on operations of County departments and unintended inequities that may be caused by the program.
As a former sheriff, police officer and director of the City of Houston’s Anti-Gang Office, I know that public safety always benefits from transparency. The only people who have something to fear from this study are those who have something to hide.