April Wrap Up

Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez:

April began tragically with the loss of Deputy Darren Almendarez.

Darren spent 23 years here as our teammate and friend, working as a Patrol Deputy in District 3 and as a Field Training Officer.

Most recently, Almendarez served as an Auto Theft Investigator where he worked closely with other agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigations, as part of the Multi-Agency Gang Task Force and the Auto Theft Task Force.

Darren loved what he did and was proud to serve our community.

More than a Deputy, he was a family man. His family meant the world to him, and they will forever be in our thoughts and prayers.

Our community was rocked once again by the loss of Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 7 Deputy Constable Jennifer Chavis only a few short days later.

Jennifer was a proud United States Army Veteran, graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Houston Downtown and her Master’s Degree from Texas Southern University. She was still pursuing her education when she passed.

Jennifer was also deeply connected to her family. She leaves behind a young son and many other loved ones.

It’s times like these we are reminded why our heroes do what they do and sacrifice so much to keep us safe.

I’m humbled and proud of the way our communities rallied together in their grief to honor and remember these two great heroes.

April is a Month of Awareness

April is Child Abuse Prevention month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Autism Awareness Month.

Our Crime Victim Assistance unit and other local community activists hosted multiple events throughout the month to shed light on these issues and educate the communities on solutions.

National 911 Public Safety Telecommunications Week

During the Week of April 10th through the 16th, we celebrated National 911 Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

Our Communications team members are the steady voice of calm between our communities and our officers.

Their attention to detail and ability to remain steadfast is key to successfully serving the people of Harris County.

To all our Communications Teammates, we extend a heartfelt thank you.

Connecting in Our Community

Our teammates were busy this month, out in various parts of Harris County getting to know our community members.

Our Mounted Patrol Unit and esteemed Mounted Patrol Horse, Chief, enjoyed a local Back the Blue event in District 4 at the Steve Radack Community Center.

Members from our Crime Scene Unit participated in a two-day Forensic Field Trip event hosted by Katy ISD.

Students were able to get up close and personal with the techniques and trade of crime scene forensics while getting to know the teammates who work in this area.

Remembering the Fallen in District 5

Our District 5 Patrol Substation honored it’s Fallen Teammates with a ceremony and touching tribute to Deputies who lost their lives in service to the District 5 community.

Deputy Darren H. Goforth, Deputy Omar Diaz, Deputy Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal, Deputy Alexander Gwosdz, Deputy Joshua Sieman

Celebrating Our Women in Blue

In honor of Women’s History Month, join me in celebrating the remarkable women in our agency who have dedicated their lives to serving others.

These women pursued careers in law enforcement for various reasons – many wanted to make a meaningful impact in the very community where they lived, to work toward building trust between peace officers and neighbors, and for their sheriff’s office to be as diverse as Harris County.

They don’t all wear our uniforms. They’re not all in the same division or perform the same job. They work in all areas of our agency but have the same passion and drive for our mission. Whether on the front lines or behind-the-scenes, the work they do every day, individually and collectively, is important and helps make our neighborhoods a better, safer place.

At a time when our communities are growing more diverse, residents must meet deputies and peace officers who look like them, who understand their community’s needs and challenges, and who share their experiences and perspectives.

We’re highlighting only a handful of the women who are taking us to new heights and leading us into a new era of policing rooted in partnerships, innovative strategies, data analysis, and proven training.

Meet Detention Support Services Bureau Major Eleanor Jones

Major Jones joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1989 as a certified jailer. She has since held many roles and assignments, including Motorist Assistance Program deputy, narcotics investigator, homicide detective, shift and unit supervisor, and division commander.

Major Jones oversees a broad number of critical support functions that are an integral part of the Criminal Justice Command and serve the more than 8,000 incarcerated persons in our custody. This bureau provides detainees with food, transportation to medical care, proper sanitation conditions for personal hygiene, clergy visitations, access to legal resources, and literacy and rehabilitation programs.

She understands the importance of investing in people to reach their full potential. These programs, resources, and opportunities empower people with the tools, skills, and support to be successful when returning to their communities.

Meet Patrol Bureau Major Susan Cotter

Major Cotter oversees the largest and most visible component of the agency often tasked with providing the initial response to calls for service.

She joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1991 as a certified jailer. She has since served in several roles, including a juvenile probation drill instructor, patrol deputy, accident investigator, auto theft investigator, drug recognition expert instructor, and standardized field sobriety testing instructor.

Major Cotter’s passion for safe roadways has set the bar in traffic enforcement. She’s had a profound impact in the fight against preventable crashes and deaths throughout her public service career.

Major Cotter speaks with urgency about the need for law enforcement to be in the community interacting with residents about the day-to-day happenings in their neighborhoods. She still enjoys being in a patrol vehicle and responding to scenes.

Deputy Luz Blanco with UNIDOS

Communications Officer Brandi Rivers

Clinician and Officer Remote Evaluation Program Coordinator Brittany Ortiz

Homicide Investigator Margarita Nolan with Crime Scene Unit Invesigator Tracy Lewallen

Community Problem-Oriented Policing Unit Deputy Ravin Washington

Training Academy Captain Kimberly Smith

Motorcyle Unit Deputy Tiffany Pickens

Tactical Flight Officers Erica DuPont and Latavia Davis

Our women in blue are showing our young girls and future leaders that they, too, can succeed as a patrol deputy, investigator, detention officer, crime analyst, dispatcher, victim advocate, command staff member, or as any of the other essential roles throughout our agency. They have given the next generation a chance to see themselves in them and feel empowered to chart their own course.

Communities need more women in law enforcement. We’re seeking diverse perspectives and want to hire and promote those who embody our core values. If you’re looking to make a difference, learn more about our career opportunities here.

This month is a moment for us to pause and honor the hardworking women in our agency. We’re grateful for their daily dedication, countless contributions, and commitment to our profession.

In Our Community

As peace officers, we know a big part of community policing is spending time outside our patrol cars. It’s about bonding with the residents you serve. And it’s finding meaningful ways to reach people and make lasting connections with them. Just this week, our Sheriff’s Office team members participated in the Houston Rodeo Parade, a decades-long tradition that signals the official kick-off of rodeo season and celebrates our western heritage. They also engaged with residents at various community events. Here’s just a glimpse of their passion for the job and our community:

Child Fingerprint Safety Events

On Saturday, Feb. 26, Patrol District IV Community Problem-Oriented Policing (CPOP) Unit Deputies Mordecai and Lai and Human Trafficking Unit Deputy Investigator Barajas participated in a Child Safety and Human Trafficking Presentation at a local Walmart.

CPOP deputies introduced their unit’s mission and shared more information about our agency’s programs and initiatives, including Harris County Safe.

More than 120 children participated in the program, which provides famlies with their child’s fingerprints and photos to have on record.

We are partnering with Walmart in the Katy area for another human trafficking awareness event.

Child Safety and Human Trafficking Event
April 30, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Walmart #768, 1313 North Fry Rd., Katy, TX, 77449

Investing in Our Community’s Future Leaders

Crime Scene Unit Sgt. DellaSala spent time with a Cub Scout Pack in the Katy area.

He talked to the third graders about law enforcement’s role in their neighborhood, various ways to stay safe, and introduced forensics by demonstrating multiple tools investigators use in the field.

“They were excited to use fingerprint brushes and look at the ridges of their hands as a lesson on the uniqueness of fingerprints,” said Investigator Simpson.

Crime Scene Unit Investigator Simpson visited with his daughter’s Girl Scout Troop in the Spring area for their detective badge.

He introduced them to the Crime Scene Unit’s critical mission of conducting detailed forensic investigations of crime scenes in Harris County through a hands-on fingerprinting activity.

Follow our Crime Scene Unit on Facebook (@HCSOCSU).

UNIDOS

UNIDOS deputies Blanco and Magallanes shared crime prevention resources and tips with Spanish-speaking residents at San Ángel Grill.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and the UNIDOS team met with our partners at the Consulate General of Mexico to collaborate on crime reduction strategies within the Hispanic community.

UNIDOS team is also working on collaborating with Fe y Justicia Worker Center and Consulate of El Salvador in Houston.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

On Monday, Feb. 28, CPOP deputies and Patrol District 5 Captain Shannon collected donated stuffed animals and blankets from Lakewood United Methodist Church in northwest Harris County to give to the community. Patrol deputies will have stuffed animals on hand for children and blankets for those in need, lifting their spirits and building a strong bond between those on the front lines of protecting our community and those we serve.

Downtown Rodeo Parade

On Saturday, Feb. 26, we joined hundreds of our fellow Houstonians for the long-anticipated Downtown Rodeo Parade, a cherished tradition that brings together marching bands, floats, community leaders, and beloved Mounted Patrol peace officers.

It’s a tremendous site to see those that make up our community on horseback filling the streets that we proudly call home.

Over the next several weeks, as Houstonians and out-of-town visitors take in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, our deputies and members from our specialized units will be working collaboratively with public safety partners to ensure everyone has fun safely.

For behind-the-scenes rodeo experiences and fun facts, follow our Mounted Patrol deputies on Facebook. It’s rodeo time!

Celebrating Our Roots

Visit the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homepage

Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez:

Today we marked the beginning of rodeo season, one of our city’s civic pride points and a beloved salute to our cowboy heritage, with western attire. In honor of Go Texan Day, team members dusted off their cowboy boots and hats and wrangled up their blue jeans. Going Texan tells everyone that you belong to this county and great state, and it belongs to you. It’s something we pride ourselves on. It’s unmatched.

73rd Annual Pony Express Ride

Dozens of riders from our Mounted Patrol Unit and area law enforcement agencies participated in the 73rdAnnual Pony Express Ride, a time-honored tradition where relay teams hand-deliver Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo invitations to Texas elected officials. Riders started their journey on Sunday from the Waller County Fairgrounds, arriving at the steps of the Texas Capitol on Monday.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Patrol was formed under Sheriff Buster Kern in 1949.

Mounted Patrol started with volunteers and eventually transformed from a reserve function to what it is today.

Our Mounted Patrol deputies build personal bonds with the community, removing patrol cars as barriers and having a direct connection with residents.

Lt. Chris Adolph, who oversees our Mounted Patrol Unit, said, “People gravitate to the horses and start conversations. They want to engage with us and know more.”

Deputy Jaquarrius Mollique has served with Mounted Patrol for about a year and is a first-time participant in the Annual Pony Express Ride.

Deputy Mollique, who is from Louisiana, used to ride horses as a child and was inspired to join the unit after seeing District 3 Crime Reduction Unit Deputy Humphrey Ihejirikah in action.

Deputy Ihejirikah was part of a pilot program that trains deputies with limited riding experience to be members of the Mounted Patrol Unit.

During this year’s relay ride, Deputy Mollique was inspired by the parade ride in Austin.

He said, “We were riding in a large group and surrounded by our partners at Austin Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety, bringing home all the hard work and preparation that make this tradition successful.”

“I wanted to join the Mounted Patrol Unit because I enjoy being around horses and engaging with the public in a positive way,” said Deputy Jaquarrius Mollique.

Deputy Mollique says one of his most memorable moments was working a holiday event in the Baytown area. He noticed a young boy following him around. “He was very persistent in wanting to pet my horse. I had one more stuffed animal to give out and when I gave it to him, he completely lit up. This made me so proud.”

Over the next several weeks, we look forward to taking in all that we have come to love about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

Senior Citizens’ Police Academy

This virtual academy is dedicated to increasing awareness about issues that affect older adults and ways we can support them.

We will share helpful resources and safety advice specifically tailored for those 65 years and older. We’ll encourage them to stay involved in their communities and to take precautions to reduce their vulnerability to certain crimes, such as mugging, scams, and fraud.

Starting March 22, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. through April 19, Senior Citizens’ Police Academy participants will learn about:

  • Fraud and scams
  • Romance scams
  • Identity Theft
  • 911 and non-emergency communication
  • Living Life Online

Register Today

Register by the approaching deadline, Tuesday, March 8.