On the heels of the arrest of Jose Rodriguez, a parolee accused of capital murder, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the creation of a parole violator task force.
While Rodriguez was on parole, he cut off his ankle bracelet and went on a five-day, three-murder crime spree across Houston that also included an attempted murder and aggravated robbery. HPD and the Harris County Sherriff’s Office teamed up during the manhunt for Rodriguez.
The multi-agency task force, a joint creation of Art Acevedo and Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzalez, would focus on violent offenders and parole absconders. It would be comprised of deputies, constables, and HPD officers from each agency in the county and each of the towns. Acevedo said he wants to keep a better track of the 18,000 current parolees in Harris County.
“We want to create an environment in Harris County where parolees know they have one of two choices: They can come here, live here and abide by circumstances of parole or they can rest assured that the second they abscond… this is not a county that’s going to play,” said Acevedo.
Acevedo also plans to ask the legislature for more power.
The chief wants to include a parole condition that allows law enforcement to randomly search parolees whenever they come in contact with police, regardless if there is a reason or cause for a search. On top of that, he wants to make parole officers certified police officers.
While officials often seek task forces and more authority after incidences like this, the legislature should proceed with caution when it comes to giving law enforcement carte blanche when performing random searches.