Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “Lina Hidalgo”

County announces new crime reduction initiative

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (middle) speaks to reporters about the county’s Safe Harris initiative on August 17, 2022. At left is County Judge Lina Hidalgo, at rear Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, and at right Deputy County Administrator for Public Safety Perrye Turner.

$150 million for “Safe Harris” and VIPER

HARRIS COUNTY – County leaders on Wednesday touted an overall decrease in violent crime across the region and announced the Safe Harris initiative — a four year $150 million public safety investment focused on further reducing crime in Harris County.

According to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county saw a 7% decrease in violent crime since June 2021, with a 4% decrease in homicides. Additionally, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez added that since December 13, his department seized 279 guns, cleared 1,303 warrants, and filed over 1,000 charges — a majority of those being felony charges, Gonzalez said.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Gonzalez said. “We’re taking crime seriously here in Harris County, and we’re going to continue to work collaboratively and learn from what’s working and what’s not working.”

The additional money will bolster the county’s ongoing public safety investments and help fund the Violent Persons Task Force, or Viper, which will launch next month in Harris County with the aim to “take the most dangerous individuals off the street,” according to Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

Harris County plans $1.2 bond issue for November ballot

HOUSTON – Harris County leaders took the first step to put a $1.2 billion bond referendum on the November 8 ballot. The proposal would devote $100 million to public safety facilities and technology, $900 million to roads, drainage, and transportation projects, and $200 million to parks.

Commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to authorize multiple county departments to develop a capital improvement bond proposal. Judge Lina Hidalgo set conditions for casting her vote with her fellow Democrats, Commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis.

“The guidelines should include a ‘worst-first’ approach to match funds to the greatest need, with at least $220 million to be spent in each precinct and $100 million to be set aside for public safety,” Hidalgo said.

The “worst-first” requirement addresses a concern that Commissioner Ellis raised, citing past bond initiatives where poorer neighborhoods like those in his Precinct 1 were shortchanged.

COUNTY PROVIDES $48M FOR CHILDCARE

New program funded by American Rescue Plan funds will allocate historic $48 million dollar investment for childcare and early childhood development

HARRIS COUNTY – June 14, 2022, In a 3 to 2 vote, commissioners court approved a new program investing $48 million American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds for childcare and early childhood development in Harris County. It is the largest known investment of ARPA dollars by any county or city in the nation for early childhood education.

“Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment of any type of public program. Those positive effects also endure throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rates and future earnings while reducing any possible contact with the criminal justice system,” said Judge Hidalgo. “ We have an obligation to go beyond just the minimum standard of funding roads and bridges and public safety. We also have an obligation to support our next generation of workers and innovators and leaders.”

The program will increase accessibility to high quality childcare and early childhood development by 10% in the third-largest county in the nation. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality child care desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality child care in their area. Due to the high cost of childcare, often one parent is forced to stay home, preventing them from entering the workforce and costing families lost wages.

We must act to stop Gun Violence

COUNTY CONNECTION
By Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Over the past month, our nation has yet again endured violent deaths from mass shootings and gun violence. In Buffalo, we all witnessed the brutal attack driven by racism and hate that left 13 people dead at a grocery store. 17 people were shot during a mass shooting in downtown Milwaukee. And we are all still mourning the loss of two teachers and 19 innocent children murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. This violence shows no sign of letting up – between May 24th, the day of the Uvalde tragedy, and June 6th, there have been 33 additional mass shootings, including multiple mass shootings here in Harris County. No one is immune from this bloody plague.

Today, our nation and our county is in the midst of a vital conversation about violent crime and what needs to be done to prevent it. The truth is, we cannot talk about addressing violent crime without talking about the role that guns play in fueling it. On the same day as the tragedy in Uvalde, we released new data from Harris County’s Institute for Forensic Sciences from which the conclusion could not be more clear – we are not just suffering from a rise in homicides, but also from a rise in the percentage of homicides caused by guns. In 2018, gunshot wounds caused 76% of homicides in Harris County. In 2021, that number was 84%. This year’s percentage is at 87%. And we aren’t unique. Statewide, the rate of gun homicides in Texas increased 90% between 2011 and 2020, from a little over 3 deaths per 100,000 people to about 6 deaths per 100,000.

New VIPER program to reduce crime

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, along with the County Commissioners and Judge Hidalgo, announce the new VIPER program.

VIPER VIOLENT FELONY WARRANT TASK FORCE

Harris County, TX — TUESDAY, May 10, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia was joined by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and Pct. 6 Constable Silvia R. Trevino announced VIPER – a new violent crime warrants task force approved by Commissioners Court. The warrant roundup initiative aims to reduce the number of violent offenders on the loose in Harris County. After being considered by Commissioners Court, VIPER passed unanimously with a 4-0 vote.

There are more than 50,000 people in Harris County who are wanted by police, including more than 700 people who are wanted for murder. The Harris County Commissioners Court passed the creation of a new task force that will be aimed at tracking down and arresting the most violent offenders.

The Harris County Violence Persons Task Force, or VIPER, consists of deputies from both the sheriff’s and constables’ offices. VIPER will add much-needed staff, whose purpose will be to track down and arrest the most violent offenders in Harris County. The task force will be made up of two teams, each team will consist of 4 deputy constables and 4 deputy sheriffs.

“VIPER will help ensure public safety that must be addressed,” Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. “Putting a stop to the culture of not feeling there are any consequences for criminal activity.”

County sets $8mil for new Early Childhood program

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – February 22, 2022 – Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday awarded grantees a combined total of $7.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds provided by the Biden-Harris Administration to seed a targeted portfolio of early childhood programs, including resources for educators and new parents, and the expansion of home-based child care providers.

Commissioners approved the following contracts on a 3 to 2 vote:

— $4.6 million to Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) to implement Build the upWORDS Community-Based Universal and Targeted Intervention Model: The program will provide universal education, resources, and materials to parents of young children. Over three years, 20,000 children will be served and TCH will train 6,000 early childhood educators.

— $2.4 million to First3Years to implement Expand the Safe Babies Approach in Harris County: This initiative, which will be offered to 300 young children and their families over three years, is designed to to improve family reunification by strengthening the relationship between birth and foster parents.

— $906,173 to The Alliance for Home-Based Child Care Supports to expand home-based child care operations. This effort will create jobs, creating at least 23 licensed programs that will add child care capacity in low- to moderate-income communities.

— Funding for independent evaluators to assess the impacts of the program

County moves COVID threat to Level 2 ORANGE

Harris County Judge Lowers COVID Threat Level to Orange

Harris County, Texas — February 24, 2022 — Judge Lina Hidalgo today announced that she is lowering the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 1: Red to Level 2: Orange. The move comes as positive cases and COVID-19 ICU populations are decreasing.

“The omicron wave hit Harris County very, very hard,” said Judge Hidalgo. “In fact, only now have our hospitalization rates dropped to levels that don’t immediately threaten the capacity of our healthcare system. While we’re moving in the right direction, there are no guarantees we won’t see another wave in the future. My hope is that the on-demand availability of vaccines and treatments will help us to avoid another dangerous spike. I continue to urge folks to get vaccinated. Doing so will allow us to deal with COVID-19 as a manageable risk rather than an emergency that unnecessarily threatens lives and the capacity of our entire healthcare system.”

Level 2: signifies a significant and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning that there is ongoing transmission of the virus. At this level, unvaccinated residents should continue to mask, physically distance, and avoid all medium and large gatherings. Vaccinated individuals should follow the latest local public health guidance on whether to also wear a mask while indoors in public places, in crowded outdoor settings, and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

Harris County allocates $50mil for “Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods”

Judge Lina Hidalgo with Sheriff’s deputies to announce the new “Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods” program.

HARRIS COUNTY – County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia announced a Major Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Safety Initiative. The Proposed $50 million smart on crime program is to target areas with high rates of violent crime driven by gun violence.

Judge Lina Hidalgo revealed details of the new $50 million proposal to prevent violent crime and improve neighborhood safety across Harris County. The new initiative will target distressed county neighborhoods where blight and neglect are driving violent crime. The program will improve street lighting, sidewalks, and visibility in residential areas, address longstanding blighted and abandoned structures, restore vacant lots, and implement other improvements shown to enhance public safety.

During Judge Hidalgo’s tenure, commissioners court has increased the law enforcement budgets for every law enforcement agency, including the district attorney’s office, by 13% since 2019. This brings the total funding for law enforcement in fiscal year 2022 alone to $966 million.

Early Voting for Primary Feb. 14 to 25

HARRIS COUNTY – Election season for 2022 kicks off with early voting for the primary races in crucial positions in Harris County starting Monday, Feb. 14. Early voting ends on Friday, Feb. 25 and Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 1.

Among the primary races catching much of the attention are the Harris County judge race and the Pct. 2 commissioner race. Lina Hidalgo is the incumbent Harris County Judge but faces five opponents in the primary race. One of the Democratic challengers is Georgia D. Provost, a former Houston City Council candidate, and Erica Davis Constable Alan Rosen’s chief of staff. Other Democrats are Maria Garcia, Ahmad R. “Robbeto” Hassan, and Kevin Howard, according to the Texas Secretary of State Election Information page at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/index.shtml.

Dealing with COVID-19 in a New Year

County Connection by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

A new year is a time for new beginnings, and I know we are all ready to start fresh. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic has not slowed down over the holidays. With the emergence of the Omicron strain fueling the fire, a new wave of infections are once again raising our numbers. Hospitalizations are slowly rising and approaching problematic levels, infections are spreading rapidly across our County, and this week our numbers have pushed our threat level back to red. The possible exposures from travel, holiday celebrations, and gatherings on top of the return of children to school this week could trigger a very difficult month ahead in terms of hospitalizations and the strain on our medical system. It is clear that we will be living with this virus indefinitely.

But here in Harris County we are not giving in – we have more tools available and more knowledge on this virus than at any previous point during this pandemic. And we know that vaccinations are the best protection for you and your family against this virus. If there has ever been a wake up call to get vaccinated and get your booster, that time is now. You can find all the information you need on how and where to get vaccinated and your booster at readyharris.org.