Q&A: Candidates running for Harris County Precinct 5 constable

Editor's note: On a sample ballot featured in the Oct. 1 edition of Community Impact Newspaper in the Bellaire, Meyerland and West University area, incumbent Constable Ted Heap did not have an asterisk next to his name denoting his incumbency. Heap was first elected as constable in Precinct 5 in 2016.




HOUSTON



Harris County Constable, Precinct 5





Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.



*indicates incumbent








Ted Heap*



R




Occupation: Harris County Constable Precinct 5


Experience: Elected to serve as Constable Precinct 5 in 2016. Has successfully run one of the largest constable’s offices in the nation since 2017. Thirty-six years of continuous Harris County law enforcement experience and has worked at every rank and position in a constable’s office.






Why are you the best candidate for Harris County Precinct 5 Constable?




TH: I am the best candidate for this job for two primary reasons. 1.) I have the experience to continue doing this job as I am the only candidate with 36 years continuous Harris County law enforcement experience. I have held a Texas Master Peace Officer’s license since 2002 and worked every job and at every rank in a constable’s office. 2.) I have increased patrols in our neighborhoods, led countywide efforts to protect our environment and abused animals, delivered community outreach programs to all that make up the Precinct 5 community and run a successful department while reducing response times.




Do you believe criminal justice reform is needed in Harris County?




TH: We must remain in a mode where we are constantly assessing our needs and what reforms are needed in law enforcement. Our job is too crucial to shrink from ever looking at how we do our jobs and look at ways to improve upon our work. Reform just for the sake of reform is not real change. We must be willing to change and listen to all.




If re-elected, what would your priorities be in terms of crime reduction?




TH: Continue to increase patrols where needed, continue our fight against drug dealers, human traffickers and scam artists who plague our residents and our businesses. We must also always leverage technology to help with manpower and crimefighting.




If re-elected, what other issues will be among your top areas of focus?




TH: I will continue to work with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to address human trafficking and illegal narcotics which affect all neighborhoods regardless of location or income level. Concentrating additional resources to these areas will provide a safer place for all of us to live, work and raise our families.














Mark Alan Harrison



D




Occupation: Currently laid off due to COVID-19


Experience: Fifteen years of law enforcement experience as an officer/deputy, sergeant, lieutenant and chief


Contact: 713-418-0481, www.markalanharrison2020.com




Why are you the best candidate for Harris County Precinct 5 Constable?




MAH: Harris County Precinct 5 needs a constable that understands the needs of the entire community and is ready to change the current status quo. Precinct 5 is the fastest growing and most diverse precinct in the county, and I believe that the office needs to reflect the people it serves. I know I can create a new culture for this office to grow and adapt to better serve the community. It’s time to change the culture of law enforcement.





Do you believe criminal justice reform is needed in Harris County?






MAH: Absolutely, I believe that criminal justice reform is necessary in Harris County. We need to change the current culture and bring back the meaning of public servants.





If elected, what would your priorities be in terms of crime reduction?






MAH: If elected, my priority in terms of crime reduction will be more visibility and community involved policing. Instead of spending tax dollars on a plethora of unnecessary “specialized units,” we will focus on expanding the patrols. Community oriented policing means to me, having deputies that know the neighborhoods they patrol, that know the names and faces of the citizens they are serving. I believe that familiarity will encourage proactive policing [as] opposed to reactive policing.





If elected, what other issues will be among your top areas of focus?






MAH: If elected, my number one priority is to change the current culture of law enforcement. We need to root out all discrimination and get rid of the “good ol’ boy system” that exists for promotions in the current office. The Precinct 5 Constable’s Office will also be available to the entire precinct, not just select areas. Last, but not least, I plan to improve the training and preparedness for emergency disaster relief at the Precinct 5 office. We need to all be able to work together and combine our resources to provide the most amount of help possible.







By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


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