The Harris County Contract Patrol Program provides an avenue for customers to contract with the County for supplemental law enforcement coverage. In this case, your neighborhood would be contracting with Harris County Constable’s office of Precinct 2. The neighborhood contracts for a percentage of the deputy’s dedicated presence (usually 70%, 80%, or 100% of a deputy’s time) in accordance with the program rules.
Now, that being said, exactly how does it operate?
The program consists of implementing a contractual relationship between our office and a subdivision, cooperative grouping of subdivisions, or a municipal utilities district. In this relationship a deputy, or several deputies, are assigned to the neighborhood (et al) with the vision of establishing a community-oriented policing relationship with the residents of that neighborhood.
This is not an extra job. It is a regular patrol position assigned specifically to the contract.
The deputy will spend at least 70% of his time within the contract with an allowance for the remaining 30% to be spent, if required, to support operations and conduct routine activities at the office such as reports and paperwork. The cost of the program is split between Harris County and the contract-neighborhood, with the contract paying 70% and the County paying the remaining 30%. The deputy works closely with a Community Liaison to determine the contract’s needs and to share information regarding potential criminal activity, which may impact the neighborhood. The Community Liaison is an individual chosen by the contract, usually a board member, to act as an agent between the County and the neighborhood.
While the Contract Deputy Program is not a solution to all problems, it does provide an enhanced law enforcement presence and deterrence in areas that may want or need those services.
Other Frequently Asked Questions …
For the year of 2011, in an 80% contract, a deputy position will cost a subdivision $73,088.00. The same position in a 70% contract is $63,952.00.
Our department recommends one deputy for every 600 homes in the patrol area
Yes, Article 2.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures states “Who are peace officers.” Number two on this list, after Sheriff’s Deputy, is Constable Deputy. Municipal police officers are further down the list.
Article 2.13 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, entitled “Peace Officers: Duties and Powers.” states; “It is the duty of every peace officer to preserve the peace within his jurisdiction. To affect this purpose, he shall use all lawful means. He shall in every case where he is authorized by the provisions of this Code, interfere without warrant to prevent or suppress crime. He shall execute all lawful process issued to him by any magistrate or court. He shall give notice to some magistrate of all offenses committed within his jurisdiction, where he has good reason to believe that there has been a violation of the penal law. He shall arrest offenders without warrant in every case where he is authorized by law, in order that they may be taken before the proper magistrate or court and be tried.”
This means that Deputy Constables receive their legal authority from the same statutes as other State certified peace officers, and have the same powers.
The agreement between Harris County and its contracting entities states that vacation time, sick time, worker’s compensation time, and court time arising from action taken within the subdivision “are deemed working time devoted to the subdivision.” Of course, the subdivision receives twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week responses to calls-for-service, should their deputy be busy or absent.
Once the deputy receives the call from the dispatcher the average response time for emergency calls is 2.38 minutes. The average response time for non-emergency calls is 5.49 minutes. These averages were determined by sampling the calls for an entire month in 2007.
All Harris County Constables and Sheriff’s Department are on the same radio system. Our dispatch office is capable of contacting municipalities within our Precinct to coordinate efforts.
We do not receive 911 calls from the public. However, when the GHC 9-1-1 receives a 911 call in a contract area patrolled by Precinct Two they send the call information to us via our mutual Computer Aided Dispatch system. If a 911 call is received by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office or one of municipalities, this call is usually routed to our dispatch over the radio system or via inter-agency dispatch communication.
Yes. Most of the traffic tickets issued by our deputies are in Justice of the Peace courts.