^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Sheriff's Deputies Who Worked As Sensitivity Trainers Punished For Being Insensitive

This week's feature about Laura Howard also deals with crisis-intervention training in law enforcement.

According to several sources from the story, the Harris County Sheriff's Office has been slow in accepting crisis intervention as a method of handling suspects and inmates at the jail.

Apparently, there has been another setback. The two deputies in charge of training other deputies in crisis intervention were recently transferred, and according to Lieutenant John Legg, a spokesman for the department, the move was punishment for making "insensitive comments" while teaching.

"This was [bad] enough," Legg says. "We push the envelope a little more than you would with strangers, but they should know where the line stops."

The deputies were demoted to jail duty at 1200 Baker St., Legg says.  

The state mandates that all law-enforcement officers receive at least 16 hours of training about handling suspects in crisis - like Howard - and Legg says that about 70 percent of Harris County deputies have met the requirement. (You can hear Howard describe the way she was treated by sheriff's deputies here.)  

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Some people aren't convinced. Phil Jenkins, a lawyer and former counselor with the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, helped start a service in the 1990s at MHMRA for officers and deputies to get the mental health history of a suspect.

"As long as I worked there, no police office ever called, and as far as I know, it hasn't happened since," he says. "If the officer takes them to the hospital, and the guy gets out and does something stupid, it comes back on the officer, but if they take them to jail, well, CYA, they're covered."

Of course,  the insensitivities of the HCSO have been on display in other ways lately; we broke the news last week about a Sikh family claiming they were harrassed by deputies after their home was burglarized.

-- Paul Knight

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.