Harris County premieres $11M anti-violence teams to launch in March

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Sheriff Ed Gonzales and officials with Harris County Public Health announced the upcoming launch of two anti-violence team pilots Feb. 9. (Screenshot via Facebook live)
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Sheriff Ed Gonzales and officials with Harris County Public Health announced the upcoming launch of two anti-violence team pilots Feb. 9. (Screenshot via Facebook live)

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Sheriff Ed Gonzales and officials with Harris County Public Health announced the upcoming launch of two anti-violence team pilots Feb. 9. (Screenshot via Facebook live)

On Feb. 9, Harris County officials announced the launch of two programs slated for March that aim to lighten law enforcement’s workload while taking an alternative approach to fighting violent crime.

Harris County will be launching the Holistic Assistance Response Team and Community Violence Interruption Program pilots in the Cypress Station area, which is located along the west side of I-45 where it intersects with FM 1960 in Spring. Combined, the programs are anticipated to cost $11 million.

“Over time, we anticipate having several of these teams around the county,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo made the announcement Feb. 9 along with Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Sheriff Ed Gonzales and leaders from Harris County Public Health. The news comes one day after Harris County commissioners approved the fiscal year 2022-23 planning budget, which includes $1.38 billion for safety and justice programs and will be finalized in September.

Harris County commissioners first created these programs in August, using funding that was set aside for criminal justice intervention programs in June 2020. HART will use $5 million while CVIP will require $6 million. Both initiatives were created to combat increasing violent crime rates that have been observed in Harris County and across the U.S.



HART will be a team of trained social service and health professionals tasked with aiding the Harris County Sheriff's Office by responding to nonviolent 911 calls that pertain to homelessness, mental health issues or other non-life-threatening medical concerns.

The CVIP team will be made up of outreach specialists who will focus on decreasing gun violence by meeting with affected victims and families. The program aims to identify potential gun violence or threats before they occur, according to a Jan. 25 news release from HCPH.

According to HCPH, CVIP will also be piloted in the Sunnyside area, which falls on the east side of Hwy. 288 where it intersects with Reed Road. Hidalgo said research shows similar approaches to combatting crime work.

“We need to focus on what works and put aside the rhetoric,” she said.

By Emily Lincke

Reporter, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Emily joined Community Impact Newspaper in August 2021 after working for a small town newspaper in El Campo, TX for two years. Before that, she interned and freelanced for the Houston Chronicle and worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the Houston area. A controversial fact about Emily is that she prefers sugar cookies over chocolate chip cookies. She graduated with a print journalism degree from the University of Houston in 2018.