HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — On Tuesday, all eight elected Harris County constables announced they agreed on a unified use of force policy. It's the first time a unified policy has been agreed upon in the county.
"The highest priority we have ... is the preservation of life," Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen said.
The policy is now in the hands of Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee for review. If adopted, all of the more than 1,200 deputy constables in Harris County will adhere to the policy.
The top priority, according to Rosen, was the preservation of life.
Rosen said the group of constables and the panel that moderated the forum also took into account citizens' concerns.
"Our great citizens, a diverse group of citizens, came in and actually reviewed the policy and gave us some real meaningful feedback," Rosen said.
The policy also implemented a "duty to intervene," which means deputy constables will be required to step in when they see a fellow officer doing something wrong.
“It was such an honor to work with the other seven constables on this new policy for the last few months. The work today with our communities is just another reason why Constables are so close to the communities we serve," Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said.
KHOU legal analyst Carmen Roe was on the panel that moderated the forum. She said she was pleased to see the constables agree on a few things in the policy. She said she was pleased that the new policy included accountability for violations of the policy, required reporting of any use of force in the community and the preservation of life priority.
The Use of Force Panel that moderated the forum:
- Catherine Burnett – Dean at the South Texas College of Law
- Vivian King – Harris County District Attorney’s Office
- Eric Davis – Public Defender’s Office
- Carmen Roe – Legal Defense Attorney and KHOU 11 legal analyst
- Constable Alan Rosen (D) Precinct 1
- Constable Jerry Garcia (D) Precinct 2
- Constable Sherman Eagleton (D) Precinct 3
- Constable Mark Herman (R) Precinct 4
- Constable Ted Heap (R) Precinct 5
- Constable Silvia Trevino (D) Precinct 6
- Constable May Walker (D) Precinct 7
- Constable Phil Sandlin (R) Precinct 8