in Houston, Texas
Poof! Harris County Sheriff's Office backlog disappears
Thursday, Dec 08, 2011, 10:17AM CST
By Steve Miller
magic trick

A reported backlog of warrants at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has suddenly cleared up, thanks to a statement from the office that there is no backlog.

The Houston Chronicle reported in November that 30,000 misdemeanor and felony warrants were not part of the database that state law enforcement uses to catch scofflaws both casual and serious.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia said at the time he would need a dozen staffers to clear up the problem and that the situation put his deputies at risk in the streets.

"It makes it unsafe for my patrol deputy if he's dealing with someone who's got a warrant that hasn't been entered yet. It could potentially put that deputy in harm's way," Garcia told the Chron.

The story was picked up by the Associated Press, where it hit the local broadcasts and was run on national law enforcement sites.

But now the office says that some of the numbers it put out were right --- it claims there is still a list of 19,748 misdemeanor warrants yet to be entered --- but that, oops, it made a mistake on the felony number of 10,088.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett implied in the latest Chron story that Garcia’s mistaken claim of a backlog and pursuant panicked statements about crime were a ploy for more money come budget time.

"This is proof that we need more budget professionalism and less focus on public relations," Emmett said. "We need to be about the people's business rather than trying to win our arguments in the press whatever that might be."
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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Photo of a magician's prop used in a disappearing act by flickr user anyjazz65, used via a Creative Commons license.
Thursday, 12/08/2011 - 10:23PM

This is a prime example of why Sheriff Garcia needs to go and a Sheriff with integrity take his place. That was no oops we made an error. I wonder if they'll give the same response the the Court of Appeals ruling he wrongfully withheld documents in cases.

Harris County Deputy
Wednesday, 12/21/2011 - 06:26PM

Yes Adrian Garcia needs to Go with his whole command staff. Harris County needs a New Sheriff. Check out

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