Policing Texas’ most populous county is just one item on a laundry list of challenges facing Harris County’s next sheriff.
Voters next month will choose between the appointed Republican sheriff, Ron Hickman, a career cop who formerly served as Precinct 4 Constable, and Democratic challenger Ed Gonzalez, a 47-year-old former homicide investigator-turned Houston city council member.
Whoever prevails will have to contend with the realities of fighting crime in Harris County’s rapidly developing unincorporated areas and running an expensive, overcrowded jail frequently referred to as the largest mental health facility in Texas.
All of that is set against a backdrop of heightened tension between civil rights activists and police over the use of fatal force against civilians and the murders of peace officers in high-profile incidents in Dallas, Baton Rouge and northwest Harris County.
After party affiliation, the race is expected to boil down to the differing philosophies of Hickman and Gonzalez. read more…