The Houston Chronicle said it best when it endorsed Ed Gonzalez in the Democratic primary for sheriff: “In Ed Gonzalez, Democratic Party primary voters have a candidate with broad experience in law enforcement and governance.”
As a veteran Houston Police Officer who led murder investigations and rose to the rank of Sergeant, Gonzalez is the only candidate for sheriff who has used his law enforcement experience to increase public safety protect our neighborhoods and reform our criminal justice system to address issues of mental health and alternatives to incarceration.
Ed served six years on the Houston City Council, where he chaired the council’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee and served Houston’s mayor pro-tem. As a leader on the city council, Gonzalez:
- Led the creation of Houston’s Sobering Center, which saves taxpayers money, keeps people who need help out of the criminal justice system and allows police officers to spend more time on patrol, catching hardened criminals.
- Made huge strides in addressing mental health challenges of the individuals who most frequently use Houston police and fire services. Gonzalez led the effort to make permanent the Chronic Consumer Stabilization Initiative (CCSI), a highly successful pilot program. The Houston Police Department, Houston Health Department, and the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County team up to help individuals with serious mental illnesses who, without treatment, continue to commit minor offenses and/or utilize police services and other emergency services on a habitual basis resulting in excessive calls for service and needless law enforcement encounters. This progressive approach has allowed Houston’s police department to redirect resources in a more effective manner, strengthened public safety, and improved the quality of life of individuals with serious mental illnesses.
- Helped launch the city’s first unit in the Houston Police Department focused on human trafficking. Gonzalez has been a longtime strong advocate in the fight against human trafficking. As a member of the Mayor’s Human Trafficking Task Force, he helped grow collaboration to include regional partners and evolve into the Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking. On Houston’s City Council, he assisted in passing stronger guidelines to regulate illicit massage parlors that often serve as hubs for illegal activity.
- Brought people together to create Café College Houston, an innovative public-private partnership between the City of Houston, the Houston Public Library, Project GRAD Houston, Houston Municipal Courts and the City of San Antonio. It’s a one-stop-shop for teens and adults to receive help in finding the right college, SAT & ACT preparation, college admissions assistance, career guidance and help applying for financial aid. A key feature is a diversion program for juveniles with minor offenses to study and gain class credit in lieu of being cited and paying a fine.
- Presented the idea and worked with HPD to launch the Safe Haven Program that allows individuals conducting online business transactions (e.g., through eBay, Craigslist, etc.) to designate a police station as a meeting place to deter unscrupulous buyers or sellers.
- Took action to reduce elder abuse and protect those with mental health challenges, by leading the passage of Houston’s boarding home ordinance. Gonzalez worked with mental health service providers and stakeholders, city council members and the city’s legal department to pass an ordinance that requires group or boarding homes to register with the city, use background checks to screen staff and caregivers, give access to the facilities to HPD’s Mental Health Division and perform other duties to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents.
- Improved neighborhood safety by reducing and preventing animal overpopulation in Houston. Harris County has hundreds of thousands of strays, which pose public safety risks – including the potential to spread rabies or attack residents – and they impact our limited resources, as shelter intake is primarily driven by accidental litters of unwanted puppies and kittens. Gonzalez worked with BARC the City of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility – to create a pilot spay and neuter partnership initiative in Council District H called “Healthy Pets-Healthy Streets.” Gonzalez also took a leadership role in a project driven by Council Member Robert Gallegos to bring Austin-based Emancipet to Houston. Emancipet Houston provides low-cost spay/neuter and preventive veterinary services to approximately 7,000 to 8,000 animals per year.
- Led efforts to pass Houston’s Vulnerable Road Users Ordinance, also known as the Safe Passing Law. Designed to reduce fatalities and serious injuries – an acute problem in Harris County – the ordinance requires vehicle operators to give cyclists, pedestrians and other non-vehicular road users three feet of space on Houston roadways. Operators of commercial vehicles and light duty trucks would be required to give six feet of space.