NORTH CHANNEL – Taking time from a busy schedule, Sheriff Adrian Garcia met with the North Shore Rotary, and gave a talk explaining the workings of his department.
He noted that the goals of his department were similar to the 4 Way Test noted on the banner in the room. Truth, Fairness, Goodwill and Friendships, and Beneficial to all concerned.
Garcia said his department is the third largest in the nation, and very diverse with about 100 languages spoken.
He noted that especially in the Ship Channel neighborhoods, his department is active in watching for terrorism, and his patrols carry radiation devices at they screen vessels. The Channel is susceptible to a terrorism event that would bring economic disaster to the region, costing as much as $300 million per day in losses.
To help patrol, he has added 3 helicopters to his patrols, with the help of a federal surplus program. Harris County has 1.3 million people outside the 2.2 million in the city, he said. His department has 5000 employees, of which about 1000 are on patrol.
Among his accomplishments are a reduction in overtime budget, reducing it from $60 million prior to his taking office, to $5 million now. The jail population has been reduced to below the approved 9000 inmates, and they get skill training while in jail.
He has implemented a number of crime reduction programs, including the “iwatchharriscounty” reporting app for smart phone and computer, and a Secure Watch program for convenience stores to monitor crime and reduce false alarms.
He has recruited 103 new rookies this year, as well as the youth Explorer’s program.