Multiple Jail Scandals Plague Sheriff Adrian Garcia's Department - Reflects on Lack of Leadership and Supervision
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s Administration has been racked with multiple scandals involving deplorable and illegal behavior by his employees and the hiring and placement of highly questionable individuals in critical places of leadership. On October 5th, Garcia took to the microphones to explain the latest scandal involving eight members of his jail staff. They were having sex with each other and with inmates in the jail. Interestingly, Garcia chose to follow a strategy that is the linchpin of the leader of his Party’s ticket, Barack Obama, by blaming the prior administration of Republican Sheriff Tommy Thomas for creating a culture that allowed this behavior. At his press conference, Garcia also accused members of his department for “failure to take action as supervisors.”
Like Obama who blames and shames others and does not take personal responsibility, Garcia did not take responsibility for this scandal, or for his failure to take corrective action. Friday’s announcement came as the result of an investigation that began in August of 2011. In December of 2009 nearly a year after Garcia took office, Deputy Paul Briones allegedly engaged in illegal sexual contact with a jail inmate. According to an April 2010 story by KRTK-TV 13′s Kevin Quinn, Briones was allowed to retire from the Sheriff’s Department and was later indicted on a state jail felony. While this charge has not yet come to trial, in June of this year, Briones was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14. Where were Garcia’s corrective actions as the supervisor of the county’s largest law enforcement agency after this 2009 incident?
The current scandal involves eight members of Garcia’s team. According to Houston’s Fox 26, one deputy was fired and charged, one supervisor was fired, four civilian detention officers were fired, one deputy resigned during the investigation and one supervisor resigned during the investigation. Garcia said he would install more cameras to deter and detect this sexual activity. A source reported that female jail employees do not lose their positions but are reassigned when they are caught engaging in sexual activity with inmates or other jailers.
Garcia said in his press statement, “One of the toughest things I have to do is discipline those few employees who make it harder for their colleagues to be trusted and admired by the public. So, although I try to be as fair as possible, I will not hesitate to punish employees who break the law or egregiously violate the law.“ One may have to ask Sheriff Garcia then, why is Pete Galvan, a member of Garcia’s campaign team, still employed after receiving a probation sentence for a DWI when other employees were terminated for a similar offense? Not only was Galvan not terminated, he is now employed in Garcia’s Executive Bureau.
Garcia can try to blame these problems on the prior administration and that is what Democrats seem to do these days. But what about his own command staff – people Garcia hand-picked for their positions? What about Major James Kirk who was hired by Garcia to lead Internal Affairs but was discharged about a year later when he was charged with sexual harassment? Sexual harassment by a government official is a crime; the offense is called official oppression. What about Major Bob Doguim who was hired by Garcia to head up the department’s Homeland Security section? Sources in the Sheriff’s office report that Doguim left his position in the FBI after 19 years of service (just short of receiving his lucrative lifetime retirement) and went to work for Jack Heard, Jr. Shortly after that, Heard was indicted and Doguim was hired by Garcia. Despite being a former FBI agent, Doguim was unable to obtain Homeland Security credentials from the Federal Government. Because of this, people reporting to him were unable to brief him on the investigations they were working on. Under questionable circumstances, Doguim then left the Sheriff’s Office and went to work for the Houston Police Department where he stayed for a little over a year before leaving. Major Jesus Garza was allowed to retire after a series of violations of administrative policies that require background checks for all employees of the department. And Garcia hired six majors when he was elected in 2008; half of those majors left the department under a cloud. All of this sheds serious questions about Garcia’s supervising one of the largest law enforcement offices in the nation.
There have also been many drug related scandals under Garcia’s leadership. In March of this year,Deputy Jimmy George was arrested following an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. George was arrested for allegedly taking payoffs from night club owners to keep law enforcement away from their illegal activities. Last month, Deputy Jesus Martinez was chargedwith delivering ecstasy tablets in a Houston case investigated by the FBI, DEA, Texas Rangers and the Houston Police Department. In August 2011, Deputy George Wesley Ellington was convicted of extortion under color of official right. Ellington had been charged with receiving payments from drug dealers for protection and access to information.
The list goes on and on. It raises the serious question of the culture Garcia created under his watch as Sheriff. Why hasn’t Democrat County Attorney Vince Ryan looked into these wrong-doings under Garcia’s supervision? Is he ignoring Garcia in the same way he has been ignoring illegal or unethical activities of Constable Victor Trevino and other Democrat officials? I will take a look at Ryan’s so called “watchdog” status in a future article. Ryan ran as a county watchdog but has been a Democrat lapdog.
All of this raises serious questions about Sheriff Garcia’s ability to lead the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. The Garcia reign casts another huge shadow on the entire slate of Democrat candidates on the November ballot in Harris County. From a Sheriff who should not be running one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country; to a County Attorney who provides cover for unethical and illegal acts of Democrat officials; to Lloyd Oliver, a DA candidate who thinks some women “just like to be beat up before making love”; to judges like Kevin Fine who just makes up the law as he sees fit –declaring Texas’ death penalty unconstitutional; the Harris County Democrat Party has given us plenty of reasons to vote a straight Republican ticket this year.