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Harris County Sheriff's Office

The Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) is a local law enforcement agency serving the over three million citizens of Harris County, Texas, United States.

As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county had a population of 3.4 million (a 2005 estimate placed the population at almost 3.7 million), making it the most populous county in Texas and the third most populous county in the United States. Its county seat is Houston. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has approximately 3,500 employees and is the largest sheriff’s office in the state of Texas and the third largest in the nation. The number one and two largest sheriff’s offices in the nation are respectively the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in California and the Cook County Sheriff's Office in Illinois.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is the primary law enforcement agency in the 1,118 square miles of unincorporated area of Harris County, serving as the equivalent of the county police for the approximately 1,071,485 people living in the unincorporated areas of the county. In Texas, sheriffs and their deputies are fully empowered peace officers with county-wide jurisdiction and thus, may legally exercise their authority in unincorporated and incorporated areas of their county; they primarily provide law enforcement services for only the unincorporated areas of a county, while yielding to municipal police or city marshals to provide law enforcement services for the incorporated areas. All peace officers in Texas; whether Sheriff's, city police, State Troopers, constables or Marshals have state-wide arrest powers for any criminal offense committed within their presence or view.

The jurisdiction of the Harris County Sheriff's Office often overlaps with several other law enforcement agencies, among them the Texas Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol), the eight Harris County Constable Precincts, and several municipal police agencies including the city of Houston Police Department. The duties of a Texas sheriff generally include keeping the county jail, providing bailiffs for the county and district courts within his county and serving process issued by said courts, and providing general law enforcement services to residents. The current sheriff of Harris County, Tommy Thomas, has been in office since 1995.

Organization

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is divided into ten bureaus: Executive, Patrol, Patrol Support Services, Detective, Public Services, Detentions, Field Operations Support, Human Resources, Support Services and Homeland Security. Each bureau is a major function of the department. Each bureau is commanded by a major. Each bureau is further divided into divisions/sections.

    EXECUTIVE BUREAU
         Internal Affairs Division
         Public Information Office
    PATROL BUREAU
         District 1
         District 2
         District 3
         District 4
         District 5
    PATROL SUPPORT SERVICES BUREAU
         Traffic Enforcement Division
         Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit
         Crime Control Division/Hot Spot Unit
         Park Patrol Division
         Canine Unit
         Marine Division
         Dive Team
         Motorist Assistance Program (M.A.P.)
    DECTECTIVE BUREAU
         Sex Crimes Unit
         Auto Theft
         Burlgary & Theft
         Criminal Warrants Division
         Domestic Violence
         Homicide
         Covert Operations Division - Narcotics/Vice Unit
         Runaways
         Sex Crimes Offenders Registration
         Victims Assistance
    DETENTION BUREAU
         1200 Baker Street Jail
         701 San Jacinto Street Jail
         1307 Baker Street Jail
    PUBLIC SERVICES BUREAU
         Courts Division
         Prisoner Logistics Command
              Inmate Processing Center
              Central Records
              Transportation Division
    FIELD OPERATIONS SUPPORT SERVICES BUREAU
         Communications Division
         Investigative Support Division
              Crime Scene Unit
    SUPPORT SERVICES BUREAU
         Inmate Affairs
         Medical Division
         Support Services
    HUMAN RESOURCES BUREAU
         Recruiting and Background Investigations
         Academy
         Personnel Services
         Family Assistance Unit
         Uniform Supply and Inventory Control
         Career Development
         Business Office
         Network Administration
    HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU

History

John Moore was sworn in as the first sheriff of what was then called Harrisburg County (later renamed Harris County) in February 1837. Among the oldest law enforcement agencies in Texas, the department has grown from a single man on horseback to a modern agency with 3500 employees, including over 2500 sworn officers.List of Harris County Sheriffs

  • John W. Moore..............1837-1841
  • Mangus T. Rodgers..........1841-1843
  • John Fitzgerald............1844-1846
  • David Russell..............1846-1850
  • James B. Hogan.............1850-1854
  • Thomas M. Hogan............1854-1856
  • John R. Grymes.............1856-1858
  • George W. Frazier..........1858-1861
  • B.P. Lanham................1861-1865
  • John Proudfoot.............1866
  • Irvin Capters Lord.........1866
  • A.B. Hall..................1866-1873
  • Sam S. Ashe................1873-1875
  • Cornelius M. Noble.........1876-1883
  • John J. Fant...............1884-1886
  • George W. Ellis............1887-1895
  • Albert Erichson............1896
  • W.M. Baugh.................1897-1898
  • Archie Anderson............1899-1912
  • Marion F. Hammond..........1913-1918
  • Thomas A. Binford..........1919-1936
  • Norfleet Hill..............1937-1942
  • Neal Polk..................1942-1948
  • Clairville "Buster" Kern...1949-1972
  • Jack Heard.................1973-1984
  • Johnny Klevenhagen.........1985-1995
  • Tommy Thomas...............1995-

Ranks

These are the ranks of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Title Insignia
Sheriff
Chief Deputy
Major
Captain
Lieutenant
Sergeant Supervisor / Sergeant Investigator
Deputy Investigator
Deputy
Detention Officer / Jailor

Those with the rank of sergeant and above are issued gold badges. Deputies are issued silver badges. Detention officers (jailers) wear white uniform shirts with no badge. Academy cadets wear a white uniform shirt with a cloth badge.

Promotion to the ranks of sergeant through captain are made via a civil service testing process that includes a written exam and an oral review board. Chief deputies and majors are appointed by the sheriff.

See also

List of law enforcement agencies in Texas

References

External links

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