To the Men and Women of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office:
As a leader I understand and appreciate the job you do, day in and day out. The law enforcement profession has a long history of protecting and serving the community. Each and every one of you accepted and understands the requirements and the adjustment to your lives that being a law enforcement officer requires. Simply put, we have rules and traditions that are important to our continued success and morale. We have all had to conform to those rules and traditions – they did not have to conform to us. Our uniform and our appearance distinguishes us as professional American law enforcement officers, and we should not change that to suit a select few. As Sheriff of the county I will continually have your best interest at heart so you will have the tools and the support that you need to provide professional law enforcement services to the citizens of our county. Politics will not dictate the enforcement of the law!
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
As a United States Marine and member of the National Rifle Association the right of citizens to keep and bear arms is not negotiable and I will never support any action to deny this right.
Sheriff Pittman’s Posse
As Sheriff of Harris County I will form a 1000 plus member volunteer posse consisting of Harris County citizens. The posse will serve many roles in supplementing the mission of the Sheriff such as searching for lost persons, special events and any other assignments as deemed necessary by the Sheriff.
Posse members will consist of both Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) certified individuals and non-certified members of the community. Posse members authority unlike that of a certified deputy exist only while on official posse business that is sanctioned by the sheriff.
Sheriff’s Advisory Board
I am a firm believer in Community Oriented Policing and to that end as Sheriff of Harris County I will create the Sheriff’s Advisory Board.
Board members will be nominated and selected from the many diverse communities throughout the county, from Katy to Baytown, Kingwood to Clear Lake and Acres Homes to Sunnyside. The entire community will have a voice.
The purpose of the board will be as follows:
- To provide the Sheriff with a direct line of communication with the community to help shape existing and future policy.
- To create a proactive environment to resolve issues related to law enforcement in a faster and more efficient manner.
- This will be an advisory board only. All authority to implement policy change will rest solely with the Sheriff.
Collateral Business Partners
The Criminal Justice System ultimately works when all of the parts involved in the process work well together. As Sheriff I will establish policy within the sheriff’s office which will create a more efficient and effective working relationship. This will be done by meeting with those “partners” to hear their concerns and get their suggestions to ultimately create sound policy which will make us all more efficient.
These partners include:
- Harris County District Attorney’s Office
- Defense Counsel
- Bail Bond industry
- Towing industry
- Other law enforcement agencies
Sheriff’s Athletic League
To offer through the use of private funds and donations the forming of the sheriff’s athletic league. When I was a child, law enforcement officers were some of my heroes. That “hero” image has been tarnished over the years particularly in the less fortunate communities. We can help change that by offering under-privileged youth the opportunity to participate in athletic and mentoring activities under the guidance of volunteer sheriff’s personnel. It is my hope that this will help to change and re-establish law enforcement officers as heroes in the eyes of today’s youth and in those communities in which we serve.
Enforce the Law
This may seem a bit basic, but believe it or not there are some who believe some laws should not be enforced. Barack Obama has set the tone for this behavior and it will stop with Carl Pittman as Sheriff of Harris County. An example of this: A driver stopped with no license (no other licensed occupant) and no insurance will no longer be issued a ticket and sent driving on their way. That vehicle will be impounded and will only be released to the owner when a valid license, insurance and registration is presented at the storage facility. Vehicles not redeemed will be disposed of in a manner prescribed by Texas law.
To issue a ticket to this driver who then goes down the road and kills you and/or your family is negligence and will not happen on my watch.
Public Integrity Unit
As the highest ranking elected law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff must set the standard in maintaining public trust. In the furtherance of this goal the PIU will formed and will be responsible for investigating allegations of criminal conduct by an elected or appointed public office holder. Cases will be investigated and presented to the District Attorney. It should not take an Investigative Reporter to hold public officials accountable.
Legislative Advisory Unit
As the largest sheriff’s office in Texas we must maintain an open line of communication with our legislators in Austin. We will seek legislation to help in maintaining law and order and provide input on proposed legislation to insure the “unintended consequences” are known before laws are passed.
Establishing Conservative Fiscal Policy
A zero-based budget policy will justify the expenses of the organization line by line. A zero-based budget policy will identify areas of waste within the organization. As a businessman I could never have used the practices commonly used in government today, and kept my doors open. The option to simply print more money was never at my disposal. Most administrators steer clear of zero-based budgeting quite honestly because it is labor intensive. In times of economic distress or prosperity we should remain fiscally conservative. For example: Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for marketing and media personnel is not a responsible expenditure of tax dollars. A zero-based budget will help to identify areas that need additional attention within the organization. I will implement this policy to zero out and start again with the budget and we will repeat this process in odd calendar years
I will be diligent in the pursuit of grant funds to complete our various missions. I will build a strong reserve force to supplement our law enforcement mission. As a Real Estate Broker I owed a fiduciary responsibility to my clients. Simply put, I had to place my client’s interest ahead of even my own. I will bring this as a fiscal concept to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Take A Tough Stand Against Illegal Immigration
Harris County has become a haven for illegal immigration. The Houston Chronicle reports nearly 10 percent of all arrests in Harris County are of illegal immigrants costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The Sheriff’s Department spends more than 15 percent of its budget investigating, arresting, incarcerating and providing medical care to illegal immigrants. Across the state, then Senator Patrick estimated 25 percent of our state budget is spent on services for illegal immigration – $45,000,000,000.00 per year. Illegal immigration impacts both public safety and our economic bottom line adversely.
The tragic death of HPD officer Kevin Will reminds us of the criminal element illegal immigration brings to our communities. We can no longer take a reactionary stance toward this level disregard for human life. Carl Pittman will stop ignoring this large problem plaguing our county and return the Sheriff’s Office into an organization focused on law enforcement, not petty politics.
Building Relationships With Other Officials
As Sheriff of Harris County I will do everything in my power to establish and maintain a good working relationship with other government officials, specifically with the Commissioner’s Court. The office of the sheriff can only reach its goals by fostering that relationship with the court. I will work with all other law enforcement officials, the District Attorney and the Judiciary to see that our goals and objectives can be met.
As Sheriff, I will follow the law – this is not optional and should not have to be negotiated with the sheriff. I believe this is the primary duty of any law enforcement officer and particularly the chief law enforcement officer of the county. I will seek to identify the best practices from around the country and the world, that can effectively work within the sheriff’s office. “This is how we’ve always done it” will be discarded from the Sheriff’s Office vocabulary.
A request for information under a properly filed Freedom of Information request will not require the Texas Attorney General to force compliance as long as the release of the information is not otherwise protected by law.
Public Work Programs For Eligible Inmates Serving Sentences In The Harris County Jail
I will identify tasks that eligible inmates can complete in an attempt to save the public funds and allow those inmates the ability to “work off” custody time, further reducing the burden on our jails. There are many public projects that could be accomplished by inmate labor, and many inmates look forward to the opportunity to do something productive to pass the time. For some who will argue that this practice is about race – I say it is about responsibility. To simply house inmates without any return on the taxpayers’ investment is irresponsible. Inmate labor should be used for the care and maintenance of our parks, cleanup of abated properties and cleaning of our roadways. This serves two primary goals – provides a sense of responsibility for the inmate to get up and go to work and also saves tax dollars.
Less Costly Detention Housing Options
I will seek, with the assistance and approval of Commissioner’s Court, and state officials the creation of a pilot program for housing of post-conviction, misdemeanor, and non-violent inmates to drastically reduce the cost of housing. I will do all things within my authority and in accordance with the law to identify and implement less expensive housing options for inmates. As a young infantry marine I spent a great deal of time in tents. It was not always comfortable, but I was serving my country and I was proud to do it. If it is good enough for our men and women serving this nation why is it not good enough for an inmate serving a jail term? This will be done in a responsible manner in full compliance with applicable rules.
Accessibility Of The Sheriff
I will be equally accessible to all citizens regardless of their social or financial status. All law abiding citizens should have open access to their elected leaders. I will not simply show up when there is a “pat on the back”. The sheriff must be a visible leader in good times and bad. I will seek out opportunities to make the presence of the sheriff’s office known throughout the county and the region.
Reorganization Of The Sheriff’s Office
Staffing in patrol and investigations will be an absolute priority! We must do those things that we are mandated to do first and foremost. The staffing of the jails can be helped and overtime significantly reduced by reorganizing those personnel already in place. The addition of other “special units” simply for the appearance of action without firm results is irresponsible. Each bureau or area of the sheriff’s office will be reviewed for efficiency as well as necessity. All positions will be justified or reassigned for maximum effectiveness. I will seek to put qualified people in positions for which they are best suited. The use of certain personnel in dual roles is a practical and cost effective way to staff some units. Patrol personnel cross trained as SWAT members are in use around the country today and have been for many years.
The administrative “bloating” of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is completely out of touch when considering the current economic situation of the country.
My Vision For The Harris County Sheriff’s Office
My vision for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is for a professional, well trained and highly motivated law enforcement organization. There is a belief among some in law enforcement that it is “us” (police) vs. “them” (public). The truth of it is that this only works well when there is a partnership between the police and the public that it serves. I will bring, through action, a partnering concept to the office. The sheriff’s office exists to serve and protect the citizens of the county, and we must be responsive to the needs of the community.
My Oath To You
As a United States Marine and as a Law Enforcement Officer I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. This is included in the oath of office taken by every law enforcement officer in the country before assuming their duties. In essence as Sheriff I must be a protector of the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. I must obey the law, it is not optional. No individual or group will ever have the need to negotiate with me to accomplish this.
I will work hard to earn the trust of the employees of the sheriff’s office and will treat them with respect. The Sheriff cannot violate the law against his employees while promoting himself to be the “chief law enforcement officer of the county”. The unwritten but obvious first mandate to be sheriff or any peace officer is to obey the law. The Sheriff does not and should not make the law, but enforce the law. As Sheriff I can then demand that the citizens are treated with the same dignity and respect.
When setting policy we must take the time to consider the “unexpected consequences” of those actions before implementation. No one is above the law, this is a nation of laws and that fine line of law and order allows this all to work.
As Sheriff I will continually look for the best practices in law enforcement around the country and the globe. If it works well we should consider it. I will absolutely demand that we vacate the thinking of “that’s how we’ve always done it.” That thinking may work well with an old family recipe, but in law enforcement we must constantly evolve in order to keep pace with the ever changing criminal element.
“An elected official who is more concerned with keeping their job, than doing their job should be out of a job.” – Carl Pittman