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Sheriff Hickman

Here’s your new Sheriff, Harris County.

Ron Hickman

Commissioners Court named Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman the new sheriff of Harris County to replace Adrian Garcia who resigned last week to run for mayor of Houston.

The county leaders took a formal vote Tuesday on the appointment after a brief closed-door session to discuss candidates to fill the post. Hickman, who has worked in law enforcement in the county for 32 years, was sworn in two minutes after the unanimous vote. Commissioners said they were looking for a candidate with gravitas, law enforcement experience, administrative skills and political knowhow. Another quality the group may have considered is how amenable the prospective sheriff is to separating leadership of the county jail and placing it in the hands of a jail administrator. This shift, championed by Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack, is not sanctioned in the state constitution, but the county attorney’s office said if all parties agree, it can be done legally.

Commissioner El Franco Lee said he considers Hickman “a proven commodity” who will respond and work well with Commissioners Court.

During the lead-up to Garcia’s anticipated announcement of a run for mayor, Hickman said he met with each of the five commissioners to express his interest and answer their questions. On Tuesday, he was waiting in the wings during their vote. County staff then escorted him into court with his family members and friends and a bible on hand, where he then took the oath of office.

He said he is ready to tackle all aspects of the job. “I’ve been trying to tie law enforcement together in our region. And there’s only so much I can do as constable,” Hickman said. “You reach the limit of what you can do in your own tight circle.”

Hickman developed an affinity for information technology during his time as constable, creating a consolidated system to link law enforcement databases, which was of great value to the court members.

“We need to be running an operation that’s as up to date as possible, and Ron Hickman has that kind of skill,” said County Judge Ed Emmett. “I’ve known Constable Hickman for a long time and worked with him. He’s one of these people who looks ahead. He’s savvy when it comes to technology and new approaches.”

Congratulations to Sheriff Hickman. He will have a busy time ahead of him, as he already has a primary opponent, and I feel confident that there will be a spirited group of Democrats lining up for a shot at him next November as well. (On that note, someone recently suggested to me that CM Ed Gonzalez ought to run for Sheriff next year. Let me say now that I love this idea.) He may also have the responsibility of implementing that announced-out-of-nowhere scheme to appoint a jail overseer so that he can concentrate on policing. What will he do with some of the reforms Adrian Garcia implemented, like the new non-discrimination policy and the various sentence reduction policies? Will he have better luck with misbehaving deputies? Will he be more, less, or about as gung-ho in enforcing Secure Communities? Just a reminder, that primary he’ll face Allen Fletcher and probably some other folks in happens in less than ten months. Like I said, a busy time ahead. PDiddie has more.

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6 Comments

  1. Steven Houston says:

    Saying that Hickman is for transparency in government is a big stretch in my opinion. There are scores of examples but the first that comes to mind is the deal from a few years back with one of his captain’s, Tim “Loose” Cannon (I only wish I were making that up). One of Hickman’s female buddies was arrested and Timmy undermines the deputy while trying his own form of expunging the records by ordering them destroyed (including pictures taken). Apparently, the state frowns on evidence tampering of this nature and while Hickman had to terminate Timmy as a classified officer, he immediately hired him as a desk clerk for the same level of pay (which greatly exceeds what any clerk makes in the county). Some say the trial was fixed as witnesses were all work for hire without civil service protection and a grand jury declined to indict Hickman directly without a smoking gun proving the captain was acting on his behalf but seriously, do any of you think Timmy acted on his own? Should the constable have hired him back for the same rate while under indictment and would he do that for anyone else?

    One could then look at the time sheet scandal, Hickman’s willingness to writer letters campaigning to get a killer out of prison who killed a deputy, or a number of other little “business as usual” tidbits such as how important it is to try and raid every massage parlor in Pct 4 while having staffers tell those calling for help to “get your HOA to hire another deputy” after he laid off about 100 deputies not long ago.

    As far as guys like Councilman Gonzalez running for the spot, while there is far less corruption tied to the man and he is still learning the political arena, he never served as more than a front line supervisor, a sergeant, while a cop. His policing record is more distinguished than Garcia’s but why can’t we find someone truly qualified for the role instead of being subjected to flunky Yes-men like Hickman or those that need to hire extremely expensive outside contractors for their expertise?

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    Kuffner, you should have a like button on your web site. People who really don’t have anything to say but would like to express their opinion on somthing could exercise that opinion by hitting the like button. For instance I would give Steven a like on the above post.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    I also found Steven’s post helpful, since I don’t know much about the goings on in Hickman’s former department.

    I was interested to see that Hickman is trying to get the county out of a $ 30K/month no bid “consulting” contract that Garcia apparently signed up for. I’d like to know what Harris county got for its money with that contract, and how long it has been in effect.

  4. Steven Houston says:

    Thanks guys!
    PK, that big city cop you used to hang around with in court and spent similar February 10’s could go into far more detail about Pct 4…

    Bill, I’d like more specifics too but essentially the consultant was doing operational audits and applying a “best practices available” laundry list to improve operations and save money. Suggesting more personal recognizance bonds be given to first offenders or low threat types, treating mental illness better, going class C on certain drug crimes, and a bunch of other reforms makes sense to most people.

    Hiring someone to do the legwork that isn’t beholden to a faction, tied to specific political circles, or set in a “how we’ve always done things” mindset, that can also expedite the data for better decisions isn’t cheap but despite overall costs increasing, things run smoother and make more sense most of the time. I know Radack would rather spend money on anything he can “name” or list as a personal accomplishment for those all important photo ops but political appointees are not usually known for their immediate expertise in these fields.

    So whatever limitations I may think Garcia has, he certainly learned about creative financing from his predecessor, Garcia deciding to use such financing to really better things in the jail not just pay lip service to state law. But way more details of that contract would be appreciated by me as well.

  5. Ross says:

    Shouldn’t the contract be subject to a Freedom of Information request?

  6. […] was appointed last week, and about all I know about him is that he’s been a cop for a long time, and Steve Radack […]