Republican candidates for Harris County sheriff talk mental health, no-cash bail bond policy, officer safety

Three candidates are vying for a place as the Republican candidate for Harris County sheriff in the March 3 primary election, including Joe Danna, Paul Day and Randy Rush. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Three candidates are vying for a place as the Republican candidate for Harris County sheriff in the March 3 primary election, including Joe Danna, Paul Day and Randy Rush. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Three candidates are vying for a place as the Republican candidate for Harris County sheriff in the March 3 primary election, including Joe Danna, Paul Day and Randy Rush. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

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Joe Danna (Courtesy Joe Danna)
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Paul Day (Courtesy Paul Day)
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Randy Rush (Courtesy Randy Rush)
Three candidates are vying for a place as the Republican candidate for Harris County sheriff in the March 3 primary election, including Joe Danna, Paul Day and Randy Rush. The winner of the Republican primary election will face the winner of the Democratic primary election in November.

Joe Danna (R)

Years in district: 67

Websites: www.dannaforsheriff.com and www.facebook.com/dannaforhcsheriff

If elected I would: change morale, respect and the organization chart—this will earn the respect within the department and from the community.

1. How can the Harris County Sheriff's Office better ensure that the mentally ill in need of treatment aren’t being incarcerated?

Training and more training. The employees will be well versed on signs of mental illness and [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]. The acronym is now referred to as Post-Traumatic Syndrome "Injury." There [are] many current employees of the sheriff's office that have witnessed horrific events that suffer from PTSI and very little is being [done] to help—a big mistake.

2. How do you foresee Harris County’s new no-cash bail bond policy affecting countywide crime and law enforcement?

In a negative way. We have a serious crime problem and unless you are a victim of crime, you don't take it seriously. I do not believe Class C misdemeanors belong in jail. This is something the Legislature should change, the sheriff's job is to enforce the current laws.
3. How can the HCSO further promote officer safety?


We have big plans toward a transparent sheriff's office. The general public has no clue of all the divisions and areas they provide—that will change. Educate the community through social media and an emergency app utilizing Twitter. Twitter is real time and the department is not taking advantage of that tool. There are cities that utilize Twitter and [it has been] very effective in reducing crime. This will create ears and eyes of the community to connect with dispatch and the department in general.

Paul Day (R)



Years in district: 44



Website: www.facebook.com/pauldayforsheriff2020



If elected, I would: [do a] complete reorganization of [the] Harris County Sheriff’s Office and how HCSO coordinates law enforcement response with the other 56-plus law enforcement agencies in Harris County.



1. How can the HCSO better ensure that the mentally ill in need of treatment aren’t being incarcerated?



Countywide crisis intervention training for all deputies and police officers, more mental health deputies and clinicians, special unit to follow-up on mental health consumers after being detained on emergency detention order, if mentally ill is charged with crime, detain in detention center mental health floor for immediate treatment and evaluation.



2. How do you foresee Harris County’s new no-cash bail bond policy affecting countywide crime and law enforcement?



Crime has already increased and continues to increase as criminally charged defendants are not held accountable for the crimes they are accused of and set free on the public to commit more crimes, which has already happened numerous times. This also will cause numerous court delays, when those released with no bond, do not appear in court.



3. How can the HCSO further promote officer safety?



Office[r] Safety in service training, immediate executive order, for two man units for disturbances and in progress calls, HCSO is in immediate need of at least twice as many patrol deputies, shield a badge with prayer program, one prayer intercessor for each employee of HCSO.



Randy Rush (R)



Years in district: 64



Website: www.electrandyrush.com


If elected, I would: remove the overabundance of chiefs and fill the pay slots left unfilled in the patrol division and jail. This would immediately decrease the response times for calls and give the jailers much needed relief from working forced overtime. Staggering the shifts would increase the safety of all.

1. How can the HCSO better ensure that the mentally ill in need of treatment aren’t being incarcerated?

I would lobby commissioners court to build a 200-bed facility at the Harris County training academy to accommodate the massive numbers of persons incarcerated by the various agencies in the county. I would submit my idea for federal, county [and] state grants to assist with initial costs.

2. How do you foresee Harris County’s new no-cash bail bond policy affecting countywide crime and law enforcement?

I see no upside for removing the judges' ability to measure the culpability of prisoners using the crime alleged, the history of the prisoner and the probability of further crimes. This role is the judges' province, not politicians'. I fear we may become a sanctuary county.

3. How can the HCSO further promote officer safety?

Interagency cooperation is the basic answer. Now, no agency is attempting to take the leap of using the various agencies’ manpower as a force multiplier. There is an old saying that holds much truth ... together we stand, divided we fall. Very appropriate.
By Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


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