Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – In Loving Memory of Deputy Juan Menchaca

It is with deep regret that this week we said goodbye to two team members, Deputy Juan Menchaca Jr., 70, and Detention Officer Joel Garcia. D.O. Garcia, 49, passed away after a long battle with an illness. He was a Katy High School graduate and served our country in the U.S. Air Force. He later served with us for 17 years.

Our brother and teammate, Deputy Juan Menchaca, died on Saturday after a courageous battle against COVID-19. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, and seven adult children. He is the second Sheriff’s Office employee to die after contracting coronavirus. Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski died of the virus on May 6.

Deputy Menchaca began his law enforcement career at Nacogdoches Police Department. He joined our Harris County Sheriff’s Office family back in 2006 and was most recently assigned to the courts’ division. He was a beloved member of our agency, and he will be terribly missed by all of us who had the honor of knowing him.

Deputy Menchaca was born to protect and serve. He received an accommodation in June 2019 for helping save a toddler. On November 13, 2018, he observed Deputy Neomi Roberts administering aid to a 2-year-old boy and responded to assist. Due to the quick actions of Deputy Roberts and Deputy Menchaca they were able to free the obstruction that was blocking the child’s airway. The child was able to breathe again before losing consciousness.

He was looking forward to retiring and spending quiet time in the country. Deputy Menchaca had a special way of putting people at ease. He listened. He showed genuine compassion to everyone he encountered. He loved his community, and his community loved him back.

Please continue to pray for the families of Deputy Menchaca, and Detention Officer Joel Garcia, during this tremendously sad and difficult time. Donations for Deputy Juan Mencheca’s family and Detention Officer Joel Garcia’s family may be made in their names to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Benevolence Association.

We will miss them and forever keep them and their families in our hearts. Your brothers and sisters in blue have the watch from here.

We are here to help you

Earlier this week our deputies responded to the 6600 block of Rosebrook after they were informed by a witness of a 17-year-old male found hanging from a tree in the playground area. I personally went to this scene. While this is an apparent suicide, our investigators launched a full investigation from the get-go. An autopsy is pending. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

We need to continue to raise awareness about suicide prevention. This year alone, our Crime Scene Investigators have responded to 76 suicides, 26 of them by hanging.

If you are thinking of harming yourself, please seek help. Your life matters. Please dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255). The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD at 833-251-7544. You can also call 713-221-6000 or 911 if it’s an emergency. Please remember that you are not alone, we are here for you.

Stay safe

Tomorrow marks the first day of summer, and it’s going to be a hot couple of months! That’s why we created a vehicle reminder to help you check your backseat if you have children or pets. Click here to download the flyer, print it, and have a safe and happy summer!

With the rise of COVID-19 cases in the last couple of days, we should keep doing everything in our power to stop the spread. Getting past this virus is a shared responsibility. Practice social distancing whenever you can, wash your hands, cover your face with a mask, and help us flatten the curve.

The Harris County Public Health encourages residents to get tested for the virus. Click here for more information about free testing. Please remember if you need help or advice dealing with the pandemic, visit If you don’t have internet access please call 211. There are programs in place to assist with basic needs including housing, food, and healthcare.

I wish everyone a safe and fun Father’s Day weekend! To all the dads out there, may your day be filled with happiness. To all of our residents, I appreciate all of your support for our agency as we continue to serve and protect you and your families. Let’s continue to work together and stay strong. God bless you, and God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

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Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – Working Together for a Better Future

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is fully committed to ensuring that every resident of our community is treated with dignity and respect, even if they are suspected of committing a crime. We hold the public’s trust as sacred, and we will always strive to be worthy of that trust.

While law enforcement has made significant strides in many areas, George Floyd’s death is the latest reminder that much work remains to be done. We need smart, well-trained law enforcement officers to continue to investigate serious crimes and prevent others from becoming victims. I strongly support evidence-based programs that help lift all communities and allow them to expand harm-reduction opportunities.

Preventing violent crime is a serious business, and decisions made today can have serious unintended consequences. Let’s also not forget the dangers to deputies and the countless encounters handled successfully. We must support and respect the hard work of our law enforcement professionals.

I’m putting in the work to review how our agency can do better. We prohibit the use of chokeholds, but we’re going to make it even more clear in the policy. We will immediately implement a Duty to Report policy. We will increase audits of our body-worn cameras and Taser use.

The time to act is now. I will also continue to advocate for law enforcement officers to be paid much better, to attract the best-qualified individuals to our profession. We must build momentum toward a more effective, equitable, and thoughtful approach to law enforcement. We are in this together.

Stay Vigilant

Last week my teammates responded to a fatal crash where a 5-year-old died. She was not restrained in an appropriate booster seat. This is heartbreaking because it could have been prevented. I implore you to please make sure everyone in the car is buckled up and your children are in their car seats.

Keeping our community safe is our priority. Inspect your child’s car seat to make sure it’s properly installed. SAFE KIDS Greater Houston is offering a virtual car seat check. Call 832-822-2277 or click here for more information. Check out some safety tips from Sgt. Cabrera and please buckle up and secure your children in the appropriate car seat.

Unfortunately, this week our Marine Unit found the body of a teenager who drowned while swimming in the San Jacinto River. Please remember to practice proper water safety. Avoid swimming in rivers because they have powerful, unpredictable currents. Make sure to have a person in charge of paying attention to everyone in the water, use a life jacket, take swimming lessons, and learn CPR. Red Cross offers an online CPR certification, for more information please click here.

As the county reopens and we ease back into our routines, we need to stay vigilant because the virus is still in our community. The Harris County Public Health encourages residents to take advantage of the free testing. They have new mobile locations to better serve you. Click here to schedule a test or call 832-927-7575.

Hurricane Season is here and we encourage residents who may need additional assistance responding to emergency conditions to register with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR). Click here to register or call 2-1-1. During an emergency, it’s also important to stay informed, click here to register to get notified of any potential hazards.

HCSO’s Program Gets National Award

Our Clinician and Officer Remote Evaluation (CORE) Program has been recognized with an Achievement Award in the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

Launched in 2017 with an eye toward the future, our CORE program has been a game-changer. The program offers direct access to a master’s level mental health clinician from the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, via teleconferencing technology through an iPad. This allows patrol deputies to better assess mental health consumers out in the field in an attempt to reduce transports and hospitalizations.

To our knowledge, we were the first law enforcement agency in the nation to pilot a telepsychiatry program for patrol deputies. That program evolved into CORE that uses masters-level clinicians instead of psychiatrists.

Click here to watch a video of our CORE program. Please remember, if you are in a mental health crisis, know that you’re not alone. Help is always available. Call 911 or 713-221-6000.

Thank you to all of our readers who pause every week to see what our agency is doing for the residents of our county. We value your support. Let’s end the week on a high note. Stay positive regardless of what we are going through and support one another. Let’s count our blessings, and keep moving forward. We are in this together. God bless you, and God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

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Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.

Today, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office hosted a promotions ceremony for 25 of our teammates – one new major, two captains, three lieutenants, sixteen sergeants, one detention sergeant, and two registered nurses. These leaders have served our agency and communities well and displayed qualities that are in keeping with our five core values. I look forward to what they will bring to our agency as new leaders. I congratulate them on their hard-earned achievements and wish them all the best in their new chapters in life.

Every Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy swore an oath to protect our residents. Our agency reflects the community we serve. That’s why we stand with those seeking justice and equality. We share the grief in the killing of George Floyd. We have seen this scenario play out much too often across our nation. People want to see real reform. Let’s work towards that end. The current state of affairs is a moment for us to pause, and reflect to see how we can do better and make sure our dialogue is constant and genuine. We all need healing and unity during these dark hours.

Serving and protecting

Our Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) collaborates with public and private entities focusing on outreach programs to locate, engage, and assist homeless persons with housing, health care, and nutrition needs. We have a team assigned to each of our five patrol districts. In 2019 the HOT team found housing for 125 individuals and provided 1,051 aid items — blankets, coats, food, water, and sanitary items. Click here to learn more about the HOT team and for more statistics.

In an effort to make our roads safer we created a new unit called the District Traffic Enforcement Unit. District 3, located in east Harris County, is the first out of our five patrol districts to get the unit up and running. The goal is to curtail traffic violations. The unit will focus on traffic complaints from residents in the district. While the night shift will also address racing vehicles and DWI offenders, in addition to traffic violations. Watch a video below of Deputy Landry manning the new unit.

This week we came together as a family to offer our hearty congratulations to Christian Polk, who graduated from YES Prep Eisenhower High School. He’s the son of our fallen brother Sgt. Dwayne Polk, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2013. Sgt. Polk was a wonderful man, and well-loved by our community. Christian said he was amazed by all the amazing support he received on behalf of HCSO. He’s going to study business management at Texas Southern University and said he’s looking forward to life on campus. We are proud of Christian and wanted him to know that his late father has a presence in our hearts. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors! Click here to watch the video of the drive-by parade celebration.

Stay safe

As we go back to our regular routines, we ask you to keep in mind that the virus is still in our community. Protect yourself and the people around you by wearing a mask in public, practice social distance, and wash your hands frequently. The Harris County Public Health encourages residents to get tested for COVID-19. Click here to schedule your free test or call 832-927-7575.

As our nation demands change, I see you, I hear you and I stand with you. This agency is committed to being part of the change. We must do better. Our commitment to serving our residents persists day in and day out. God bless you, and God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

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Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – Protecting with PRIDE

Our men and women of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office prioritize our First Core Value: Merit, and maintain the public’s trust. It sets the foundation of that relationship we strive to achieve with the community we serve. We are a diverse and inclusive agency that aims to reflect the county we serve. Being an inclusive agency means we celebrate June as Pride Month. And we celebrate the fact that many LGBTQ members of our agency serve openly and with absolute pride.

Since I’ve been Sheriff, every year HCSO has been in attendance and participated in the Houston Pride Parade, just like we march in parades that celebrate so many other aspects of our great community. Unfortunately, given the impact of this pandemic, Houston’s 2020 Pride parade was postponed to the fall. I encourage members from the LGBTQ community to apply and become a part of our very inclusive family, please click here for more information or call us at 713-877-5250.

Prepare for a hurricane

June also marks the beginning of Hurricane Season, which ends in November. You can’t stop a hurricane, but you can prepare now to protect you and your loved ones. Don’t wait until a warning is issued and the stores are empty or closed. Prepare an emergency plan and make sure every member of your family knows what to do.

Please follow these important hurricane preparedness tips from CDC:

  • Get emergency supplies: Have enough supplies for your household, including medication, disinfectant supplies, cloth face coverings, pet supplies in your go-bag, or car trunk.
  • Make a plan: Create a family disaster plan.
  • Avoid flooded areas: Take precautions before, during, and after a flood.
  • Prepare to Evacuate: Never ignore an evacuation order.
  • Protect older adults: Understand older adult health and medical concerns.
  • Protect your pets: Ensure your pet’s safety before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Stay safe after a hurricane: Learn how to avoid injuries, make sure your food and water are safe, and clean up mold safely.
  • Review Important Documents: Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents like ID are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password-protected digital space.
  • Strengthen your Home: Declutter drains and gutters, bring in outside furniture, consider hurricane shutters.
  • Stay informed: with your local weather authority.

Protecting our residents

Last week, Crisis Intervention Response Team Deputy Doucet and Clinician Porter, from the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, were able to help a man who was threatening to kill himself with a knife. Deputy Doucet showed extreme patience and self-control, while relying on his training to manage the situation. Thank you Deputy Doucet for de-escalating the situation and saving a life.

The Crisis Intervention Response Team (CIRT) was implemented in September 2011. This is a co-responder program pairing a CIT-trained deputy with a masters-level clinician. These teams respond to the most serious calls involving individuals in a mental health crisis. In 2019, CIRT responded to 4,430 calls, conducted 1,209 evaluations, and conducted 242 jail diversions. For more information about CIRT click here.

The City of Humble proclaimed May 28, 2020, as “Raymond Scholwinski Day.” Thank you for honoring our friend and teammate. Please continue to pray for his family and loved ones. Your brothers and sisters in blue have the watch from here.

Stay alert

The battle against the pandemic continues and protective measures remain just as vital today to control the spread as they were at the outset of this pandemic. Getting past this virus is a shared responsibility. Practice social distancing whenever you can, wash your hands, cover your face with a mask, and help us flatten the curve. If you want to get tested click here or call 832-927-7575.

I’m optimistic this month will bring new opportunities for all of us. Stay positive, count your blessings, and keep moving forward. I hope everyone has a great weekend. God bless you, and God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

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