Sheriff Ed Gonzalez supports reform, calls defunding law enforcment ‘short sighted’

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez speaks during an interview with KPRC Channel 2 on Feb. 22, 2017. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Authorities across the country are in the hot seat following the death of George Floyd, and with all eyes on them, many have spoken out against police brutality and other issues within law enforcement.

Among those are Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Harris County Sheriff, Ed Gonzalez.

On Tuesday, Gonzalez shared a thread of tweets on his stance on reform and defunding law enforcement agencies around the country.

In his tweets, Gonzales said he supports reform but believes defunding law enforcement is “short-sighted.”

“While our law enforcement profession has made significant strides in many areas, Mr. Floyd’s death reminds us that much work remains to be done. I’m moving forward with a number of significant policy revisions,” Gonzalez wrote. “We need smart, transparent law enforcement officers to continue to investigate serious crimes that have happened and prevent others from becoming victims.”

According to Gonzalez, achieving transparent law enforcement will require more funds and reallocating those funds into “potentially unproven” models could do more harm than good.

“Preventing violent crime is serious business, and decisions made today can have serious unintended consequences,” Gonzalez said. “Let’s also not forget the dangers to deputies and the countless encounters handled successfully. We must support and respect the hard work of our law enforcement professionals.”

Gonzalez said he is working on improving his agency and the complex issues at hand, such as the use of chokeholds.

“We prohibit the use of chokeholds, but we’re going to make it even more clear in policy,” Gonzalez said. “We will immediately implement a Duty to Report policy. We will increase audits of our (body-cams) and taser use. And more is in the works. The time to act is now.”

Gonzalez said he will continue to lobby for better pay for law enforcement officers in order to attract the “best qualified” people to the profession.

“We must build momentum toward a more effective, equitable and thoughtful approach to law enforcement,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzelez’s tweets came as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that he would be signing an executive order banning chokeholds and strangleholds in the city.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.