“Community Changes Everything” Initiative

In order for the Fort Bend County Community to evaluate and track the progressive implementation of each part of the “Community Changes Everything” Initiative, the achievement of vital benchmarks will be communicated to the Fort Bend County Community monthly by the Proactive Community Engagement Division of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Step 1.) We Will Create a Proactive Community Engagement Division (there will be quarterly public listening halls in each Regional Command District and quarterly CompStat Presentations that will be open to the public)! 

 

  • Action to accomplish this step – For quite some time there has been a social disconnect between the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Fort Bend County community. Well, by implementing this step the communication gap will cease and the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office will have real-time information from all areas within the community.
  • This division will be staffed by deputies and members of the community who will work in unison to increase the department’s community interaction, regardless of race of socio-economic background. Members of this newly formed division, which will be assigned to each of the four Regional Command Districts, will attend Home Owners’ Association meetings, Town Hall meetings, and School District meetings. Actions such as these will provide confidence to the members of our community in the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, its deputies and the chain of command.
  • It will also provide better insight to what the community expects, desires and also provides a level of education to the public as to the capabilities of the F.B.C.S.O.
  • Benefits to our community - The premise behind these measures is to establish and maintain open lines of communication between all members of our community so the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office can address concerns from the community, not by mere words alone, but by action. Additionally, this will give the community a strong voice to different aspects of the community that may have otherwise felt left out, ignored or disenfranchised. Overall, community relations will improve immensely because the members of the community (citizens and law enforcement members alike) will collectively better comprehend the needs as well as concerns across the board. Through education, cooperation, and mutual empathy the communication gap throughout the community will close.

Step 2.) Our hiring, assignment, and promotional practices shall embody and represent the richness of Fort Bend County’s Multi-faceted and Multi-cultural Demographic Population!

  • Actions to accomplish this step – The hiring practices will enhance greatly by hiring the best and the brightest candidates from the many diverse communities who are stymied professionally by other agencies that do not value their potential. The bi-product of such a change will bring about the public’s trust that their community is being represented and valued within a traditionally stereotypical environment. This will help bridge communication between certain minorities and law enforcement not only during daily, but more complicated encounters and investigations.

Benefits to our community – This will help the image of this agency, which has been stereotyped as a male dominant (and culturally repressive) environment. Additionally when the community sees a more cultural diverse breadth of employees represented across the spectrum of ranks, then hopefully they will feel more comfortable to come forward with information surrounding the needs of their community.

 

Step 3.) We will be committed to the development of the Leadership and Professional Competency of all FBCSO Personnel (100% FBCSO Staff shall be NIMS Certified, Supervisors and Managers shall attend L.E.M.I.T., and Executive Staff shall attend the prestigious FBI National Academy)!

 

  • Actions to accomplish this step – ALL F.B.C.S.O. personnel will complete the National Incident Management System (NIMS) 100, 200, 700, and 800 via FEMA. Department managers will complete 100, 200, 700, and 800 in conjunction with 300 and 400. All Sergeants will complete all NIMS requirements, including 300 and 400.
  • Sergeants complete the First Line Supervisors Course within 1 year prior to or after promotion. All Sergeants will also complete the FBI Leadership Trilogy Course.
  • Every supervisor, Lt. and above, will be required to attend Leadership Command College at the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT). Executive Command Staff will attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
  • Benefits to our community – I wish to have all of my supervisors to be afforded the privilege of attending a variety of management schools because I would like to invest in them with the hopes they will continue to invest in our community.

Step 4.) We will create a Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force specializing in the investigations of Hate Crimes, Human Trafficking, Gang Activity, Cyber Crimes, and Animal Cruelty !

Actions to accomplish this step - I have come to understand and recognize that gangs are a real problem within Fort Bend County. Seen or unseen they are there, growing and metastasizing.

The growth of gangs are fed by grass root problems that the community can address with the help of law enforcement. Mentors and leadership from law enforcement can help inspire pride and ownership of their communities.

At this juncture, gangs are going cyber and becoming more available to those that are socially awkward, misinformed and yearning for acceptance. With that stated, the implementation of this task force will benefit the public by ensuring key websites and programs are monitored for certain activities that will be authorized as their mandate. It will reduce cyberbullying occurrences with school-aged children and teenagers. A taskforce of this nature will also permit us to monitor and possibly prevent person(s) who might attempt to lure children and/or adults into human trafficking.

Other measures will also help to monitor and possibly prevent person(s) attempting to engage in terrorist activities in Fort Bend County while providing assistance to surrounding agencies through the sharing of gathered intelligence. Cyber-crime investigations will also help to monitor and track a person(s) posting deadly or terroristic threats online pertaining to school violence or active shooter situations, such as the Santa Fe High School mass casualty shooting incident. Personnel assigned to this task-force will also monitor, track, catalog and document gang members in real time and online since gang members have become more technologically more advanced by using computers to “Cyber-Bang” with other gang members.

This task force will also track criminal movements while monitoring areas known for narcotics trafficking and gang violence. Ultimately the members of this task force will, in real-time, monitor and receive digital media tips, anonymously posted images, etc. surrounding gang intelligence or suspected violence, human trafficking houses of concern, and potential online media threats to be followed up with.

Benefits to our community – Although the numerous benefits to the forming of this task force will prove quite beneficial, some of the most valuable to the community of Fort Bend County are as follows. Gangs are involved in varying degrees of criminal offenses such as: Graffiti / Tagging, Criminal Mischief, Burglary of Vehicles, Burglary of Habitation, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Sexual Assault (such as the induction of female members), Narcotics Trafficking, Human Trafficking and Homicide.

The gathering and sharing of the intelligence acquired by this task force will immediately improve working relationships between all law enforcement agencies both inside Fort Bend County and outside (to include, but not limited to: local, state and federal jurisdictions).

Partnerships with federal counterparts will be established to ensure professional familiarity and timely assistance with everything from possible terrorist attacks to kidnapping. Lastly the work product of this task force will give the community its long-awaited assurance, coupled with newly formed trust, that the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office has the safety and security of the entire community as its number one priority.

The work product to demonstrate such efforts will be made available (not by providing names of gang members, human traffickers or any victims) by merely showing how many of each are either being investigated, documented or monitored. Due to the sensitive nature and quality of these investigations, no names will be listed; however, the trust that the work product is being displayed for full transparency to the community should be acknowledged.


Step 5.) The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office will transition from the U.C.R. to the N.I.B.R.S. reporting system!

 

  • Actions to accomplish this step - The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office for many years reported criminal acts through the Uniform Crime Reporting system (U.C.R.), but that system doesn’t take into account the lower level Misdemeanor crimes and only documents the more violent of Felony acts.
  • I would transition from the U.C.R. system to the National Incident Based Reporting System (N.I.B.R.S.) because the N.I.B.R.S. system accounts for a much broader list of crimes reported. For example, there’s a difference between a burglary of a habitation and a theft and therefore all members of our community deserve to know that information as well. If a thief takes your bicycle from your front yard, then that’s theft, but…if they come into your home and take your bicycle that you propped up by your front door well that’s burglary of a habitation.
  • One is a Misdemeanor and the other a Felony. Those are vastly different in nature and therefore the N.I.B.R.S. system will allow for those distinctions. Once this system is implemented it will greatly reduce the chances of a criminal offense report getting mislabeled and thus more accurate statistical data will be relayed to the Federal government. Also, this will display (with education to the public) the intent of the F.B.C.S.O. to document, categorize and analyze crime statistics in a more detailed form. It will allow the F.B.C.S.O. to address and formulate a plan of action for specific types of crimes on a patrol level instead of only being utilized as a talking point in general discussions.
  • Benefits to our community – This system will provide a specific insight with respect to certain community’s concerns who are victims of specific types of crime more often than others. It will also provide the chain of command the tools needed to inform the public and Commissioner’s Court, with much more accuracy, the diversification of crime while justifying a potential equipment or added personnel request to thwart those levels of crime.
  • Most importantly, this will allow the chain of command to address concerns from the community about crime trends occurring in all areas of the community and highlight how the F.B.C.S.O.’s efforts have impacted them.

 

Step 6.) We will increase F.B.C.S.O. transparency, accountability and trust of the community by opening the Gus George Academy to the Fort Bend County Community and public at no cost (free) to them!

Actions to accomplish this step - As a degreed professional, a law-professor, and professional law enforcement Instructor I have always viewed the Training Division as the backbone of any law enforcement agency.

If that agency’s personnel are receiving the latest training available, regardless of the topic, then by proxy it assists in the insulation of the agency and its personnel.

In an effort to better educate the public on the caliber of training law enforcement receives, as Sheriff of Fort Bend County, I would open the doors to the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy and offer members of our community to attend such training as De-Escalation as well as Arrest, Search and Seizure.

A measure such as this would increase the cooperation between all members of the community, especially those of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office because the community would begin to understand why members of the F.B.C.S.O. would operate in a certain manner. Also this will improve the public’s trust knowing they can learn directly from a recognized facility that regular trains seasoned law enforcement veterans as well as new recruits attending the basic level law enforcement academy.

Permitting citizens to attend certain advanced level law enforcement training, such as the latest legislative update as an example, would help them to begin to understand the complexity of knowledge their law enforcement professionals must maintain in order to continue within the craft of law enforcement.

Benefits to our community – When permitted to attend the same courses instructed to their law enforcement professionals, members of the community will feel an immediate kindred spirit. They will also have a more profound respect for their law enforcement professionals after attending some mentally taxing courses that law enforcement professionals are mandated to attend. The bi-product of permitting citizens to attend training courses of this caliber is that it will give them a sense of inclusion and bring a real value to community involvement. It will also be utilized to host highlighted training for hotspot topics and new laws for citizens.

 

Step 7.) We will ensure the Fair, Just and Equitable Compensation of F.B.C.S.O. Staff (the Preferential Starting Pay Practice will be over, a Part Time Program will be implemented, and the importance of Incentive Pay Programs will be recognized)!

 

  • Actions to accomplish this step – First, in order for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office to keep their quality personnel they are going to have to increase their pay so they are more competitive with surrounding jurisdictions. I will ensure there’s a program in place to counsel personnel on good work-life balance.
  • Furthermore, I want to ensure that all positions are filled with persons who are the “Best Qualified” for the positions they hold. For those personnel who are not “Best Qualified”, they should be afforded the training opportunities to become the “Best Qualified”. When pertaining to department personnel of the F.B.C.S.O., best practices and fair treatment will be enforced across the board.
  • I will implement part-time staff and/or personnel to give relief to the existing jail staff and other divisions.
  • We will ensure signs of “Nepotism” are removed and pay is based on time in service, civilian education, professional development, etc.
  • We will ensure division assignments are based on professional development and education. Deploy a salary survey of other law enforcement agencies in the region, to ensure competitive pay for personnel. Implement a step or pay increase every two years but performance shouldn’t be the only factor taken into consideration. Implement pay incentive for personnel with professional certifications and skills such as: DRE, FTO, Police Instructor, Educational Pay i.e.: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, etc.
  • Benefits to our community – There are numerous benefits to running a fair, professional and just law enforcement agency. When personnel operate at a professional optimum, while being very well-trained, they have a tendency to realize few other agencies may provide those types of opportunities for them and therefore they will remain at the F.B.C.S.O.

Step 8.) We will establish a County Wide (Web-Based) Patrol Alert System!

 

Actions to accomplish this step – I would like to create a web-based anonymous Patrol Alert System that would allow anyone to report a crime or suspicious act from anywhere in Fort Bend County via computer or app.

By the incorporation of such a system it will provide members of our community the blanket of anonymity, while being monitored in real-time 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The addition of such a system will also provide relief to the call-takers and tele- communicators working within the Dispatch Center.  

Benefits to our community – It will empower the members of our community to report a legitimate concern they observe without fear of reciprocity from potential suspects, as they will not have to provide any of their personal information. This is will also enhance the rapid responses capabilities Another bi-product is it will encourage members of the community to engage with law enforcement more frequently.

 

 

Step 9.) We will initiate a Zero-Tolerance Policy to enforce Section 25.03 of the Texas Penal Code statute, “Interference with Child Custody!

 

  • Action to accomplish this step - The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office will assemble a small task force to start addressing and investigating violations of final and temporary orders regarding child possession, access, and visitation and the reasons why are as follows.
  • According to documentation acquired from the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, currently enforcement of child visitation has been a long-standing issue and still is being pushed aside when called to address these concerns.
  • The F.B.C.S.O. has not provided any relief or assistance in dealing with these recurring offenses and more often than not these incidents are dismissed as “Civil issues” when in fact many of them are criminal in nature.
  • Benefits to our community – First and foremost, the implementation of such a step will give immediate transparency from the community (outwardly looking inward) to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. This step will set a precedence to change the culture of abusing the system, which has become known for a lack of prosecution because it was dismissed as civil in nature.
  • Furthermore, it will restore confidence to the system where both the custodial and non-custodial parents will be held equally accountable. It is also a known fact that, during court mandated child-custody proceedings, the court’s primary focus is to discern what is in the best interest of the child(ren) and through this newly initiated process positive stability will greatly improve moving forward.
  • Lastly, this measure will bring a stronger cohesion between the community, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and the court system through education and proper enforcement of the law.

Step 10.) We will begin the application process at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office as well as its Jail to attain both State and National Accreditation (C.A.L.E.A. and T.P.C.A.)!

Actions to accomplish this step - This will ensure that the F.B.C.S.O. and its’ jail will adhere to and enforce the specific guidelines of those recognized best practices established through this arduous application process.

This is a voluntary process that less than 5% of all law enforcement agencies have completed, that demonstrates, transparency and commitment to industry best practice (Willingham 2019). 

The beginning of this process will eventually ensure two things. It will reduce complaints and minimize lawsuit opportunities while simultaneously displaying the professional and financial services to the general public. This will convey a commitment toward obtaining a recognized level of professionalism and adhering to it.

It will also set a standard and level of education as well as a competency that the citizens can recognize. The achievement of a prestigious accreditation will help protect the F.B.C.S.O., legally, and help avoid costly mistakes that would otherwise be corrected through trial and error. Lastly, it will provide the employees additional education and training that would sometimes become secondary and thusly would cause subpar performance.

Benefits to our community - The benefit to the community is that this process will maintain full transparency and hold everyone from the Sheriff to the Jail Deputies accountable for all actions within the confines of the Jail. 

 

 

Step 11.) We will transition to a series of four Regional Command Districts (CompStat 360)

 

  • Actions to accomplish this step - I will decentralize the command and bring the Sheriff’s Office back to the neighborhoods, which in turn will also bring the community back to the table so that everyone can connect with the diverse, growing communities.
  • This model will ensure greater efficiency in the event of a natural disaster and all command models will follow pre-determined protocols and emergency S.O.P.s (Standard Operating Procedures). It will ensure the Sheriff and Command Staff are made aware of incidents and issues within each Regional Command District via Compare Statistics or Comp Stat.
  • This will also give personnel a chance to ensure their Regional Command District is accountable and responsive to accountability measures.
  • Benefits to our community – The bi-product should restore the interaction between the community and that of its law enforcement. Members of the community should not fear their law enforcement partners at all.
  • By placing members of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office much closer to all of the communities it will greatly reduce response time to in-progress crimes, natural disasters, inclement weather, riots and other necessary situations.
  • It will also give the members of the community a chance to give information to someone in that particular Regional Command District, which will ensure that the information is disseminated to the Sheriff and his Command Staff. Comprehensive and more frequent updates of crime statistics will also drive the acquisition of additional funds to combat crimes and other issues.

 

Step 12.) We will create an Internship and Externship Program!

Actions to accomplish this step – We will improve relations between the F.B.C.S.O. and the members of the community and also provide them with additional education. We will encourage civilian ride-alongs with our Patrol Deputies.

Focus efforts to recruit additional personnel with advanced / specialized training that will greatly benefit the F.B.C.S.O. and its community. Increase personnel with educational pay incentives and professional accolades / recognition and the bi-product of such efforts is the personnel will continue to enhance their work performance in hopes of receiving more accolades.

Display to the community that the F.B.C.S.O. is responsible as well as accountable for its actions, starting with the Sheriff first as he leads by example. Ensure the public is given an opportunity to see the “Human” side of personnel.

Benefits to our community – By incorporating all of the aforementioned items, the bi-product would draw law enforcement professionals back home to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, which would divide the workload among personnel more and improve clearance ratio timeframe. Full transparency from the community to view the operations of the F.B.C.S.O. would be equally afforded and not ignored. More interaction and assistance from the community to the F.B.C.S.O., especially during a high-profile criminal investigation, should be warranted at that juncture.