Hickman speaks candidly about election, Precinct 4 status and future plans
- Written by Patsy Oliver
Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman came out on top in the March 4 primaries and will meet no Democratic competition in November. As he heads into his third term, Hickman agreed to answer some questions about the sometimes tense election, his department, and his plans for the future of the nation's largest constable's office: Q That was a brutal re-election campaign. How did you feel about how "dirty" things got? It's always difficult handling the distraction from the real issues about serving the community. The primary momentum came from issues that gained nationwide attention but are not the "business of the day" for our Constable's Office and its employees. I think we were able to get the attention of the voters back on track and that ultimately makes the difference. Q What would you say are some of the best qualities of your department? We listen and respond. Being responsive and attentive to the needs of the community will always be our best asset. Couple that with being accessible and interested in continuing to make a difference and you should have a winning combination. Q How big is Precinct 4? Precinct 4 is a little over 500 square miles. It runs from Lake Houston on the East side to the 290 Waller area, and from the Beltway up to Montgomery County. Our population is now around 700,000. Q What crime is the most prevalent in Precinct 4? We see primarily property crimes with burglary, thefts, and motor vehicle burglaries topping the list. Q How many Precinct 4 officers are there? Precinct 4 is the largest of the Constables Offices in the U.S. with about 400 employees. About 325 of those are sworn officers and we have around 50 reserve officers. Q Does Precinct 4 have a gang problem? We have gang influence in our area, like any area of Harris County. How big a problem it is depends on your perspective. Other areas of the county certainly see a more visible presence of gangs than we have in our area. Q Does Precinct 4 have a meth problem? I'm sure there is some meth activity going on in our area, but we only see it occasionally. There are a variety of other recreational drugs that street officers encounter in addition to meth. Q Which one of your community program(s) is the most successful? Our Contract Deputy Program is by far the most successful, but others of importance are the Cyber Crime investigations that pursue child predators and child pornographers, our Citizens Police Academy, and DWI Task Force. Q What is the ideal constable's deputy? A deputy who is committed to making a difference in some person's life through the opportunities that law enforcement brings them. Q Can you talk about Precinct 4's response time? Our response time on priority calls remains pretty good. Issues that continue to affect that are call volume, as well as increases in population and traffic. Sometimes it just takes longer than you'd like to get through traffic to get to a call. We are handling around 350,000 calls for service a year. Q Now that you've been returned to office, what areas, in particular, do you want the department to focus on? My focus continues to be serving my community. I am proud of my department and my community, and my commitment will continue to be accessibility and responsiveness. I want us to focus on listening to what the community thinks is important and temper that with the resources we have available to attack problem areas. Do you have questions for Constable Hickman? Visit www.cd4.hctx.net to send an E-mail. INFORMATION BOX: Emergency number: 281-376-3472 Non-emergency number: 281-446-1196 Citizens Police Academy information: 281-580-1210 Office location and hours: Humble Substation 7900 Will Clayton Pkwy. Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon - Fri.