I found two items in the Harris County Commissioner Court agenda for this coming Tuesday, Sept. 23. Remember all the controversy the Chronicle started with the contract deputy program? Well an item to be discussed Tuesday;
"The court could authorize a transfer of all patrol contracts to the constables and require the
Sheriff's Department to provide general patrol service throughout the unincorporated
Yep! The idea is strip all of the contracts from the sheriff's department and give them all to the constable departments. Not a bad idea in my book. However, another idea that is a little troubling.
"It is recommended that constables not be allowed to establish SWAT capability. All
county law enforcement should use the HPD SWAT Team as a primary resource, with the
Sheriff’s Department to be used as a secondary backup if necessary.
Constables should be prohibited from acquiring high powered automatic weapons even if
they are furnished by a provider at no initial cost to the county."
So, the commissioners court had decided that HPD alone should provide SWAT services for the whole county (which they do now anyway). However the city of Houston gets priority. So, if they are unavailable and there is an armed hostage crises, Harris County is out of luck. Plus, why can't Constables, who are police officers by the way, be only allowed pop guns by the logic of the commissioners court? I'm assuming that they are including semi-automatic rifles in this definition here. Three years ago, Pct.4 deputies found themselves in a shoot out with a bank robber with an AK-47 rifle. The deputies had AR-15 rifles to defend themselves with. I guess (God forbid) there is a Columbine type school massacre going the Constables will have to wait for HPD SWAT to suit up and make it there while people are dying. I guess they think Constables can call 'time out' until HPD SWAT makes it out there.