Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The past nine months have shown us that compassion and empathy can save the day. We have witnessed countless displays of neighbors helping neighbors and overwhelming support from our community for front-line workers.

During this challenging year, the term “essential worker” took on a whole new meaning – from our medical personnel and corrections workers who helped us avoid a potentially catastrophic outbreak in the county jail to the grocers that kept our families and communities fed. We are deeply moved by how everyone – health care workers, students, teachers, postal workers, first responders, and community members – rose to the occasion every day.

Just this week, we received more toy donations from members of our extended Sheriff’s Office family to reach deserving children in our community. Ms. Torres has partnered with PetSmart since 2010 to donate stuffed animals during the holiday season to police agencies in our region. More than 180 cuddly teddy bears, lamas, and unicorns will bring comfort to those in need. Ms. Torres is the mother to two detention officers, one of them a cadet in our Basic Peace Officer Course, and a mother-in-law to a sergeant. The stuffed animals will go to Operation Blue Sleigh led by deputy wives Victoria Viruette and Perla Dabbraccio. The two women joined forces after hearing about the many children their husbands encountered throughout their daily shifts. The initiative provides our deputies with gifts to hand out to these children, lifting their spirits, spreading holiday cheer, and building a strong bond between them and our deputies. If you’re interested in making a toy donation or learning more about this great cause, click here.

The compassion and resilience that so many in our community have shown this year is inspiring. As we celebrate Christmas and the holiday season, I just wanted to pause and express my gratitude for your support.

Some of our teammates will work through the holidays, sacrificing time spent with their loved ones. Our job never stops, and I’m grateful for those who serve and protect our residents with honor and courage.

I hope everyone enjoys time with their loved ones. We’re so grateful for your readership and partnership and wish you and yours a restful and joyous holiday!

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Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – The Season of Giving Brings Holiday Cheer

Now in its 26th year, our annual holiday toy drive brings smiles and joyful memories to the children served by the Children’s Assessment Center, an advocacy center dedicated to providing coordinated services to abused children in our area. Every holiday season, Sheriff’s Office employees sponsor children of all ages and purchase toys, bikes, and gift cards from their wish lists to help make their holidays brighter.

On Wednesday, Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted us as we unloaded a semi-truck full of more than 800 gifts for 400 children. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation also stopped by with 100 festive teddy bears.

Our close, long-time partnership with the Children’s Assessment Center has helped ensure the well-being and safety of our community’s most valuable asset. It’s an essential tool in our toolbox to address many forms of child abuse. Our Crimes Against Children Unit investigators, whose mission is to thoroughly investigate allegations of child abuse, work hand in hand with the advocacy center to provide abused children with the proper assistance, treatment, and services to start their healing process.

It’s a serious, heartbreaking issue and one we cannot confront alone. As an agency, we participate in a coordinated response against child abuse that includes partnering with advocates.

I’m thankful to lead an agency that comes together during this special time of the year to
benefit children in our community. The generosity of my teammates, especially at a time when the pandemic has created a bigger need for families and fewer resources to help them, fills me with pride.

Also, as part of Operation Blue Sleigh, the spouses of two deputies collected toys at Alexander Deussen Park in northeast Harris County on Thursday for our first responders to have on hand when they are out in their communities and encounter less fortunate children during their shifts.

Our community’s giving spirit makes a difference in the lives of children who may not have experienced the warmth and joy of the holidays without their neighbor’s support.

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Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – Growth through Education and Community Partnership

Earlier this week, we received a generous book donation from the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy for persons in our custody and care at the Harris County Jail. This donation, made possible by the City of Houston and the Molina Foundation, will help diversify our leisure reading material and will grow our book inventory with over 750 new books.

Education plays an important role in reducing recidivism in our society, but more importantly, improves us as people and brings light into our world. Reading can be a source of hope and inspiration. It can give us a framework to understand our past and look toward our future. Books spark conversations, teach us empathy, and broaden our horizons.

One of the many ways we aim to reduce recidivism is by giving people a chance to use their time constructively and by investing in them. Our Detention Support Services Bureau provides educational resources and opportunities designed to give them the tools, skills, and support to be successful when returning to their communities. We provide case management services, discharge planning, a leisure reading program, and a connection to outside resources, information, and services. We want them to be able to get out and get back on their feet.

In past semesters, before the pandemic, student volunteers from my alma mater, University of Houston-Downtown, helped screen, sort, and distribute donated books. As part of their hands-on, community service journey, the students learned about the inner workings of the Harris County Jail and the importance of rehabilitation services and reentry programs.

We were also partnering with the Harris County Public Defender’s Office to host regular book clubs where incarcerated persons engaged in the reading and the discussions.

We are grateful to our community partners who see the transformative power of literacy and are committed to changing lives by empowering people to reach their full potential through reading and learning. We look forward to the day we can welcome back volunteers and students and get back to book club discussions.

God bless you, and may God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

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Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – Showing up for Our Neighbors and Community

Earlier this week, on Giving Tuesday, our communities came together to make an impact in their neighborhoods and the lives of their neighbors. This global generosity movement reminds us of our collective power – and responsibility – to transform our own communities. A strong neighborhood depends on strong relationships. Let’s build on this momentum and on the spirit of community and collaboration that this day brings. At the Sheriff’s Office, we pride ourselves on maintaining the public’s trust and working with you to keep our neighborhoods safe year-round. We strive to be deeply ingrained in the communities we serve and recognize the invaluable impact residents and community partners have on Harris County’s future.

On Wednesday, District II led a virtual public safety forum for northeast Harris County area residents with an update from our Community Engagement Division and guest speakers from our Auto Theft and Behavioral Health Units. A few weeks ago, District IV led a safety forum for west Harris County residents and featured presenters from across our agency, including a victim advocate from our Family Violence Unit and a member of our new Traffic Crimes Unit.

Public safety forums are an opportunity for you to join your neighbors and patrol district leaders for a meaningful discussion about key public safety issues in your neighborhood. They are also an opportunity for you to learn more about our initiatives, such as Project Guardian, to ask questions about our agency, and to share any concerns with the very leaders patrolling and protecting your block.

As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you informed, each of our five districts will be hosting virtual safety forums led by the area’s patrol captain and sergeant with support and updates from various agency leaders. If you’re interested in being notified about your district’s next meeting, fill out our interest form. By signing up today, you’re ensuring you’ll be among the first to know when the next safety forum is scheduled.

In the meantime, stay connected with us by following your patrol district on Twitter and our agency on Nextdoor, a social media platform that allows you to exchange helpful information with your neighbors that’s timely and unique to your community. Our agency’s social media presence will keep you plugged in on how we are supporting and serving you daily. You will receive breaking news, missing persons and wanted suspects alerts, crime prevention resources, and more.

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A safe and compassionate community requires constant attention, care, and collaboration. Thank you for your partnership, and for joining us on this journey.

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