Election Q&A: Harris County constable Precinct 4

Harris County Constable Precinct 4

*Indicates incumbent

Jeff McGowen

(D)
Occupation: sergeant, Harris County Sheriff's Office
Experience: 27 Year Peace Officer, Master Peace Officer, Certified Crime Prevention Specialist, CPTED Certified, Army Veteran, Past President Texas Crime Prevention Association, Past President Texas Gulf Coast Crime Prevention Association
Contact: www.vote4jeff.com

What is the top issue you would address if elected?

JM: Property Crime: I truly believe in educating the public and teaching them how to prevent or reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime. I will insist the deputies assigned to communities in Precinct 4 are properly trained in crime prevention and community engagement. I will also use data to locate high crime areas and focus efforts on high incident areas with crime prevention teams to reduce crime.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

JM: With over 27 years of law enforcement experience and working in a multitude of areas at the Sheriff's Office, I have dedicated my career to engaging, bridging the gap between law enforcement and all communities and educating groups as a Certified Crime Prevention Specialist and liaison. Witnessing the climate today, I am well suited to lead a 21st century law enforcement agency in a new direction.

If elected, what will you do to ensure your officers and those they come in contact with are protected from COVID-19?

JM: If elected, I will ensure officer safety in many ways. I will ensure the agency follows the Centers for Disease Control and county officials' guidelines and protocols. Isolate potential or exposed deputies, notify potential exposed citizens, provide decontamination stations and supplies, require the use of protective equipment and sanitize work stations in offices/dispatch and gear between shifts and use.

If elected, what will you do to ensure police brutality is not an issue in Harris County Precinct 4?

JM: If elected, I will review and enhance all policies currently in place at Precinct 4, to include use of force, de-escalation training, bias-based policing, cultural diversity, engaging youth and crisis intervention training. All complaints will be investigated by the Internal Affairs Division and reviewed by the Disciplinary Review Board for final decision. Training and accountability are the keys to ensure the reduction of police brutality.

If elected, what will you do to establish/maintain trust between law enforcement and Harris County Precinct 4 residents?

JM: If elected, building trust/maintaining trust with the community will be done on a day-to-day basis. An open-door policy, community engagement and crime prevention will be at the forefront of my administration, ensuring everyone has a seat at the table and an opportunity to voice said opinions, including those with opposing points of view. I will institute community-based meetings monthly to address the concerns of all segments of the population.

What is your stance on Harris County's bail bond reform?

JM: My stance on bail bond reform is violent criminals should remain in jail if evidence shows they are a continued threat to society (family violence, murder, sexual assault, aggravated robbery and the like). Misdemeanor cases should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, those that are repeat offenders and show an escalation in their behavior should be scrutinized before bail is awarded.

Mark Herman*

(R)
Occupation: Harris County Precinct 4 Constable
Experience: 35 years of law enforcement experience
Contact: www.constablepct4.com

What is the top issue you would address if elected?

MH: The top issue for me has always been public safety and keeping an open line of communication with all the citizens in Precinct 4.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

MH: I am the most qualified candidate because in my 34 years of working at the people's constable's office, I know and understand the organization inside and out. More importantly, I know and understand how to effectively police and protect the hundreds of communities we serve throughout Precinct 4. I have a clear understanding of what our citizens expect.

If elected, what will you do to ensure your officers and those they come in contact with are protected from COVID-19?

MH: We will continue to listen to our health professionals on how to effectively utilize the personal protective equipment we have deployed to our personnel and citizens we come in contact with daily. At the onset of COVID-19, I spent thousands of dollars of my own money to purchase personal protective equipment for my personnel.

If elected, what will you do to ensure police brutality is not an issue in Harris County Precinct 4?

MH: We will continue to abide by laws and the strict departmental policies that restrict and prohibit such conduct. Police brutality will never be tolerated.

If elected, what will you do to establish/maintain trust between law enforcement and Harris County Precinct 4 residents?

MH: We will continue our community-based policing approach and concepts, which we practice every day. Staying engaged and listening to our community is paramount in the success of any modern-day police agency. Additionally, we will continue to provide the many community services we currently provide. Visit us at www.constablepct4.com.

What is your stance on Harris County's bail bond reform?

MH: With the new bail bond reform currently in Harris County, I can honestly say in my 34 years, I have never seen more suspected criminals walking our streets. With this said, we at Precinct 4 have developed more innovative crime-fighting strategies. These suspects are let out of jail, with little or no bond requirements, and we are arresting the suspects again for new crimes. The system in place makes me, as a law enforcement leader, and my team more determined to fight harder for the citizens of Precinct 4.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.