Q&A: Ahead of primary runoff election, Harris County sheriff Republican candidates talk officer safety, mental health

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, incumbent Ed Gonzalez won Democratic candidacy for Harris County sheriff in the March 4 primary election, while Republican challengers Joe Danna and Paul Day are heading to a runoff. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, incumbent Ed Gonzalez won Democratic candidacy for Harris County sheriff in the March 4 primary election, while Republican challengers Joe Danna and Paul Day are heading to a runoff. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, incumbent Ed Gonzalez won Democratic candidacy for Harris County sheriff in the March 4 primary election, while Republican challengers Joe Danna and Paul Day are heading to a runoff. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

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(Courtesy Joe Danna)
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(Courtesy Paul Day)
Ahead of the 2020 primary runoff elections, early voting for which runs June 29-July 2 and July 5-10, two candidates are once again vying for the Republican spot on the November ballot for Harris County sheriff.

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, incumbent Ed Gonzalez won the Democratic candidacy for Harris County sheriff in the March 4 primary election, while Republican challengers Joe Danna and Paul Day are heading to a runoff. The winner of the primary runoff election will face Gonzalez in November. For more information about the Harris County Sheriff's Office, click here.

In preparation for the polls, here is a look back on Q&A's with the two candidates conducted by Community Impact Newspaper staff ahead of the March 4 primary election.

Editor's note: The following Q&A interviews were originally conducted and published in February.



Joe Danna (R)


Years in district: 67

Websites: www.dannaforsheriff.com, 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 are not being incarcerated?

Training and more training. The employees will be well-versed on signs of mental illness and [post-traumatic stress disorder]. The acronym [PTSD] 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. [We plan to] 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 are not 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 [someone] mentally ill is charged with crime, detain [them] 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.


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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