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Election 2016

Why Ron Hickman Wants To Serve His First Full Term As Harris County Sheriff

18 months after his appointment, the incumbent sheriff makes the case for his election.


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Sheriff Ron Hickman in front of a mic
Maggie Martin
Sheriff Ron Hickman was appointed by the Harris County Commissioners Court in May 2015 to fill the vacancy left for former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who resigned to run for mayor.

The Harris County Commissioners Court appointed Ron Hickman as sheriff in May of last year.

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Houston Public Media’s Coverage of Election 2016

Voters will now decide if they'll grant him a full term or go with his Democratic opponent, Ed Gonzalez.

Hickman has been in law enforcement since 1971, and he previously led the Precinct 4 Constable's Office.

On Houston Matters Tuesday, the Republican touted his efforts to improve the safety of jail inmates by installing additional cameras.

"Many of the areas where inmates are held or moved didn't have cameras at all," Hickman said. "So we're making sure we have a good, solid video package that will ultimately reach about 2,200 cameras throughout the facilities."

Hickman's opponent accuses him of not doing a good job managing the jail's overcrowding, which has led to many hours of overtime for jailers and deputies.

Hickman says there's not much the sheriff can do about that because it depends on external circumstances, such as the bonding process and simply how many people commit crimes.

One thing he has tackled, he said, is to use deputies' time more effectively by reopening the county's outlying jails in the suburbs.

"So by taking the employees, detention officers and jailers out of the downtown jail and moving them to outlying jails," Hickman said, "what we do is free up time so officers can get back to their respective areas faster."

The sheriff also said his office is making a conscious effort to recruit deputies from all the different communities it polices.