The Harris County Deputies Organization says it’s not too happy with Sheriff Garcia’s requirement for a yearbook photo to be taken to commemorate the department’s 175th anniversary.
This is organization president Robert Goerlitz:
“We have a departmental photograph, that the department keeps on file, and we don’t really have an issue of the sheriff requiring a photograph being taken — the issue is how the photograph is going to be used.”
He says the policy could put deputies at risk, especially those that serve in undercover positions.
Although remote, Goerlitz says drug cartels could easily scan the pictures and put them into facial recognition databases and compromise the safety of deputies.
Christina Garza with Sheriff Garcia’s office, says that’s not true, and that undercover officers are exempt from having their photos taken and names published in the yearbook.
As far as the organization’s claim that no one from Sheriff Garcia’s office discussed the matter with them.
“There are monthly meetings that Sheriff Garcia holds with representatives of all of these six employee groups. This specific organization has not attended, so there go opportunities for them to have voiced this concern.”
Those meetings are for department organizations to discuss any concerns internally.
“We’d certainly would have hoped, that they would have tried to work out any misinformation or confusion with the sheriff, either through one of the monthly meeting that the sheriff has hosted, or through an email or a phone call or something. It could have been easily resolved.”
The photos of all department employees are scheduled to be taken on Monday.