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New VIPER program to reduce crime

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, along with the County Commissioners and Judge Hidalgo, announce the new VIPER program.

VIPER VIOLENT FELONY WARRANT TASK FORCE

Harris County, TX — TUESDAY, May 10, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia was joined by County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, and Pct. 6 Constable Silvia R. Trevino announced VIPER – a new violent crime warrants task force approved by Commissioners Court. The warrant roundup initiative aims to reduce the number of violent offenders on the loose in Harris County. After being considered by Commissioners Court, VIPER passed unanimously with a 4-0 vote.

There are more than 50,000 people in Harris County who are wanted by police, including more than 700 people who are wanted for murder. The Harris County Commissioners Court passed the creation of a new task force that will be aimed at tracking down and arresting the most violent offenders.

The Harris County Violence Persons Task Force, or VIPER, consists of deputies from both the sheriff’s and constables’ offices. VIPER will add much-needed staff, whose purpose will be to track down and arrest the most violent offenders in Harris County. The task force will be made up of two teams, each team will consist of 4 deputy constables and 4 deputy sheriffs.

“VIPER will help ensure public safety that must be addressed,” Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. “Putting a stop to the culture of not feeling there are any consequences for criminal activity.”

“This historic investment in VIPER not only aims to address the warrant backlog of violent cases, for Harris County, it is a first-of-its-kind partnership between all local county law enforcement – the sheriff and constables. Our message to people who are accused of violent crime and have warrants issued for their arrest: you have a pair of handcuffs on, and you don’t even know it because VIPER is upon you.”

-Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia

“The simple truth is that justice delayed is justice denied. Denied for those who need to present themselves to authorities and denied for crime victims awaiting justice. When dangerous criminals aren’t apprehended quickly, it creates a sense that the government does not do its part in addressing serious crimes, making victims feel ignored and perpetrators empowered. That’s why this specific initiative is so important.”

-Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

“50,000 active warrants in our community – 4,800 of those are for aggravated felonies. Almost 1,000 are for bond revocations. We need to make sure we are working together because every community and every precinct in Harris County has violent offenders that have absconded. We want them to know we are going to be out there looking for them.”

-Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez