We often hear it's no longer enough to be tough on crime. I agree. We have to be smart about it now too. For me, that's a lot more than just a campaign slogan. It's our reality. Criminals are becoming more advanced every day, so the challenge for our local law enforcement agencies, and our DA's office, grows more critical too. We have to get better at what we do too. We can never become complacent in the techniques we use to keep our county safe.
As a crime fighting organization, the Harris County DA's Office must continuously innovate and modernize its operations to stay one step ahead of criminals. As our colleagues at local police departments and Sheriff's Office, we must pay close attention to criminal trends. Our DA should be well versed in the latest scams used to fleece our residents, or research areas of town that are seeing spikes in a particular type of crime. We must develop improved and modernized system for tracking gang activity so we can see where and how a particular gang is operating, and which criminal activity they primarily use as a funding source.
Fighting crime on the streets is only half the challenge. We must ensure that the Harris County DA's Office has the tools and the talent to successfully prosecute the criminals who are a threat to our community. For example, Harris County needs to create a Forensic Science Division in order to study and correctly implement the latest crime fighting technologies. The recent BAT Van controversy, in which citizens were prosecuted using tainted evidence due to flawed technology, is a perfect example of why we need such a group to analyze technology before it is implemented. My Forensic Science Division would serve as a learning training group that consults with experts in multiple fields such as DNA, serology, ballistics, and computer forensics, and cell phone tracking.
In the coming months, I will be outlining a detailed crime-fighting program that will let Harris County residents know how I intend to keep them safe. I also look forward to hearing thoughts and ideas from voters like you, because fighting crime should be a collaborative effort within each of our communities.
Bringing Our DA's Office into the 21st Century
The third largest county in the nation cannot effectively fight crime with third-rate technology and practices. That's why, as District Attorney, I will put a focus on securing the most up to date technologies to make our county safer and to save taxpayers money by working more efficiently in fighting crime. I will also restructure the office where necessary to get the best results for our citizens.
We can restructure the Harris County DA's Office to establish a more accountable and more efficient criminal justice system through the creation of a :
The bottom line is, our DA's Office must re-evaluate and adopt the most up-to-date technology and practices if it wants to end the mistakes it has made under the current leadership. As your DA, I will go to work everyday thinking about how to achieve that and all the other goals I set as priority to keep you safe.
Saving Your Tax Dollars
Most people know that the District Attorney's primary responsibility is putting criminals in jail and keeping our streets safe. But our DA must also be a vigilant steward of taxpayer dollars. I will take this mission to heart and ensure that your dollars are not wasted.
We have the potential to do so much with technology that we are currently not doing. Just as the Harris County DA's office must incorporate the most up-to-date crime fighting technologies, we must pursue the most up-to-date cost-saving technologies.
In addition to leveraging technology, Harris County needs to look at alternatives to incarceration for low risk, non-violent offenders. While I believe our current DA is not being tough enough on certain criminals in Harris County, I also recognize that we are spending way too much of our taxpayer money to incarcerate people who are not a high risk to the community. These low-risk offenders could be better dealt with through work release programs enabling them to pay their debt to our taxpayers and to society.
The DA's Office must also do a better job of acquiring federal and state grant money that could fund the implementation of new crime fighting techniques, so the financial burden would not fall entirely on Harris County taxpayers.
Consider that a sizeable portion of the entire U.S. economy passes through our port and rail systems on its way to various other parts of the country, and we are charged with keeping that cargo safe, and the transportation infrastructure on which it travels in good working order. With that comes a significant financial burden to our county. This requirement must be balanced with the additional costs of fighting crime within the county.. It just makes good sense to look for every grant dollar we can to lessen the burden on the Harris County taxpayers, when it comes to protecting these national assets. As your DA, I will take seeking out grant dollars just as seriously as I will take catching criminals--because I am obligated to serve as a steward of our taxpayers money.
Stay tuned to our campaign for a more detailed plan on how the Harris County DA's Office can be a more effective steward of your tax dollars. And, as we prepare to roll out my ideas, I want to hear from you. Let me know what your ideas are for making our DA's office more cost-effective.
Ending the Scandal and Controversy
It seems like every year the Harris County DA's office is embroiled in a new scandal. Over the past few years, we have seen everything from employees sending racist or sexist emails to and from government computers, to DA's refusing to act on a grand jury indictment of a political ally, to accusations that prosecutors knowingly withheld evidence from judges and defense lawyers. Enough is enough.
As your DA, I will put a stop to the scandal and controversy that has impeded progress at our DA's Office for far too long. I will hold every employee to the level of professionalism taxpayers deserve and expect. I will never play political favorites with the law. Under my administration, if you do the crime, you'll do the time--regardless of your political leanings or connections. Finally, maybe I'm old fashioned, but, to me, the law is sacred. That's why I will never accept the idea that prosecutors must sometimes break the law to enforce it. The goal should be to fight crime--not to create more criminals in the pursuit of crime.
In short, as your DA, I will take the focus off politics and place it back on justice--where it belongs. And I will demand the same level of integrity from my staff as you will expect from me.