Harris County sheriff to hire expert to monitor

July 12, 2011 8:37:14 AM PDT
The Harris County sheriff has agreed to hire a monitor for the department's internal affairs division in order to end a federal inquiry into deputies' alleged religious and racial discrimination. Harris County Commissioners Court was expected to approve the agreement Tuesday.

The U.S. Justice Department investigation began with the discovery in 2008 of emails from sheriff's commanders disparaging religious, racial and ethnic groups. The inquiry also included the treatment of members of a Sikh family detained after calling deputies to investigate the burglary of their home. Both incidents happened before Sheriff Adrian Garcia took office.

The agreement, which requires the department to develop diversity training, calls for a report after an eight-month review.

Assistant County Attorney John Odam tells the Houston Chronicle the agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing.