Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez – Hurricane Preparedness During COVID-19

Our first hurricane of the season, Hurricane Hanna, made landfall last Saturday as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.

COVID-19 cases continued to spike across the state as South Texas absorbed Hanna’s punch. We must come to grips with two simultaneous disasters this hurricane season – the potential for major storms and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – and alter our approach to planning for this year’s anticipated active hurricane season.

As public health officials and first responders continue evaluating how they handle evacuations, rescues, and other emergency preparations amid a public health crisis, residents are urged to incorporate tips from the CDC into their family hurricane preparedness plans to stay safe from severe storms and COVID-19.

  • Understand that your planning may be different this year because of COVID-19.
  • Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medical supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies.
  • Limit in-person visits to the pharmacy by signing up for delivery or using drive-through windows or curbside pickup.
  • Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters.
  • When you check on neighbors and friends, follow social distancing and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

In anticipation of an active hurricane season, our new Flood Rescue Team, which is made up of patrol and Maritime Unit deputies, participated in a two-day swiftwater rescue course this week at Academy Fathom in Georgetown, Texas. Swiftwater rescue training is critical to ensuring our deputies can safely and effectively set up and support emergency response and rescue operations during extreme weather events.

Although Hurricane Hanna weakened to a tropical depression, the storm’s real threat remained heavy rainfall and the potential for flash flooding. Stay alert, take all necessary precautions, and follow the guidance of local officials. Monitor the local NWS forecast and sign up for emergency alerts at

Detention Officers of the Quarter

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office recognized Detention Officers Quiana Bigham and Luis Reyes as Detention Officers of the Quarter for distinguishing themselves through exemplary service and devotion to duty. Read their inspiring stories of service and join me in congratulating them on this honor.

Detention Officer Luis Reyes began his career with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in November 2018. He is known as an efficient and reliable detention officer, always giving his best efforts to any assigned task.

On July 8, 2020, Detention Officer Reyes was conducting a routine search on an inmate brought into the Joint Processing Center for a warrant and discovered an illegal substance. He then requested supervisor approval to conduct a more extensive search on the inmate and located a fully loaded handgun. Detention Officer Reyes ensured the safety and security of inmates, detention officers, and jail staff.

Detention Officer Quiana Bigham began her career with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in 2001. She is known for her daily dedication and commitment to professionalism. She is currently assigned to the Central Records Division as a Jail Card Custodian.

On January 31, 2020, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office submitted a commendation letter for Detention Officer Bigham, outlining her attentiveness and professional demeanor in her role. Detention Officer Bigham was applauded for her ability to quickly process jail card requests for the District Attorney’s Office and for adhering to our core value of embracing and delivering professional service.

Staying Alert

Harris County Public Health provides daily updates from hospitals, medical facilities, and other health officials across our region regarding testing, confirmed cases, and the development of COVID-19. For these updates, refer to the Harris County / Houston COVID-19 Cases Dashboard.

HCPH encourages residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they feel they are exhibiting symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive. Learn more about free testing and take the Houston and Harris County Public Health self-assessment tool here.

This weekend we welcome the start of a new month. I hope the month of August brings you a renewed spirit with new opportunities. God bless you, and may God bless the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

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