241 – County Property

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Use for Commercial Purposes

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) prohibits any Harris-County-owned building, property, or equipment to be used for personal gain or for the purpose of promoting, advertising, or offering for sale, rental, or distribution any private or commercial good, product, item, or service unless authorized by Harris County Commissioners Court. The policy applies to all HCSO employees and non-employees.

Excluded from this prohibition are employees’ non-commercial personal notices that may be posted in designated areas. The prohibition does not apply to deputies who are required to wear their uniforms while employed in an approved off-duty extra job.

No HCSO employee shall use county communication facilities or computer equipment for personal, social, or unofficial purposes.

Property Inventory and Custodial Responsibility

The Harris County Purchasing Department maintains an inventory of all property and equipment of significant value allocated to the HCSO. In compliance with the Texas Local Government Code, Section 262.011, the Harris County Purchasing Agent shall file with the County Auditor an inventory of all the property on hand and belonging to the County. To assist in this requirement, Finance & Business Office will coordinate with all bureau commanders to conduct a yearly audit of all fixed asset items including firearms. [CALEA Standard 17.5.1]

Division commanders shall be designated property custodians for their areas of responsibility and shall ensure that HCSO equipment and supplies necessary for the operation of their areas are issued and maintained. Division commanders will continually monitor and inspect their respective divisions to ensure all items of equipment are maintained for safe operations, proper utilization, and safekeeping. [CALEA Standard 17.5.2]

Division commanders shall be responsible for providing the Finance & Business Office with required information for property to be entered into IFAS within 48 hours of receiving property, to include firearms (purchased or seized).  The Division commander will be responsible for ensuring property assigned to his division is properly recorded in IFAS.

Division commanders shall obtain county tags from the Finance & Business Office on fixed assets under his division and ensure the county tags are attached the fixed assets.

Division commanders are responsible for the control, distribution, and inventory of fixed assets.  An annual inventory shall be conducted.

Division commanders shall ensure any damaged, missing, lost or stolen fixed asset is investigated and the appropriate report entered into Mobile Field Reporting (MFR).  It is the division commander’s responsibility to complete the Harris County Auditor procedures for any damaged, missing, lost, or stolen fixed asset.

Division commanders shall ensure that all fixed assets are operational and in good condition. [CALEA Standard 17.5.2]

Stored property and equipment shall be maintained in a state of operational readiness. [CALEA Standard 17.5.2]

Division commanders are responsible for the control, distribution, and inventory of expendable office supplies and operating equipment.

The maintenance of personal equipment is the responsibility of those employees to whom the equipment is issued. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring personnel assigned to them maintain their issued equipment in a state of operational readiness. [CALEA Standard 17.5.2]

Uniform and Personal Equipment Issue

Deputies and detention officers are expected to sustain their issued uniforms and equipment with proper maintenance. Uniforms should project a professional public image and be serviceable for the time period established in the life expectancy chart included in this policy. After the life expectancy of an item expires and it is no longer serviceable, personnel would be eligible to have the uniform item replaced. [CALEA Standards 17.5.2, 22.1.6]

Authorized Issue

All uniform items shall be issued through Uniform Supply.

Uniform Item Life Expectancy
ItemInitial / Authorized IssueLife Expectancy
Shirt, long-sleeved1 to 2*3 years
Shirt, short-sleeved3 to 4*2 years
Pants3 to 4*2 years
Raincoat14 years
Winter coat15 years
Felt hat17 years
Straw hat1 to 2*2 years

*Due to operational or environmental conditions, Patrol Bureau personnel may require some additional uniform items to be issued.

Additional Uniforms or Equipment

Any exceptions from the uniform item life expectancy chart will require an employee to submit a written request for uniform replacement to his or her division commander. This request will detail the circumstances (e.g., damage occurred in the performance of duty, excessive weight loss or gain) which may establish need for the employee to receive additional uniform items exclusive of the time periods designated in the life expectancy chart.

After reviewing the circumstances of loss or damage, the division commander will determine if the employee should be issued additional uniform items in excess of the authorized issue at HCSO expense or if the replacement cost of the uniform item will be the responsibility of the employee. The decision of the division commander shall be noted on the employee’s request for replacement items.

The employee shall submit the original request signed by the division commander to Uniform Supply where it will be placed in the employee’s supply records.

Uniform or equipment items not listed on the uniform item life expectancy chart may be approved for issue upon written request to the employee’s division commander detailing specific need.

Ballistic vests, computers, and other duty equipment related items may be issued dependent on duty assignment or significant need as approved by the bureau commander. All items issued through the employee’s bureau will be documented and recorded in the employee’s personnel file through receipt or inventory list. [CALEA Standard 41.3.5]

A department manual of policies, procedures, directives, Sheriff’s Civil Service regulations, and Harris County personnel regulations shall be issued to every new employee. [CALEA Standards 4.3.4, 11.1.1, 26.1.1]

The department manual and supplements may be disseminated to all employees on paper or on electronic medium via the HCSO Intranet. A receipt will be generated for each employee when updates or supplements are issued.

The employee will be held accountable for, and shall be required to sign a receipt for, all uniform, equipment items, and department manuals issued.

Responsibility for Property and Equipment

Employees shall be responsible for the proper care, maintenance, and serviceable condition of any county property issued or assigned for their use. Employees shall not alter or repair, or in any way remove any parts or accessories from, any county-owned property, office equipment, machines, clothing, firearms, communications equipment, or motor vehicles. [CALEA Standard 17.5.2]

Willful or negligent abuse or destruction, carelessness, or inattention in the handling or operation of HCSO property or equipment that results in damage or loss to the property may subject the responsible employee to disciplinary action.

Incidents involving the assignment of Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) will be reviewed on case-by-case basis and the facts leading to the loss or damage to the property will be taken into consideration before any disciplinary action is taken toward the employee involved.

First Incident

Complete an incident report and report loss or damage to immediate supervisor.

Second Incident

A Documented Letter of Counseling may be issued.

Third Incident

3 – 5 day’s suspension

Fourth Incident and Subsequent Incidents

5 – 10 day’s suspension

Fourth and subsequent incidents will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may include a transfer from the employee’s current position to one that a BWC is not required.

Employees will immediately report to their immediate supervisor in writing any loss of, damage to, or unserviceable condition of HCSO property assigned to or used by them. Employees will submit an applicable MFR report for any loss of or damage to HCSO property assigned to or used by them.

Collision Involving County-Owned or Leased Vehicle: HCSO employees shall promptly notify their supervisor of a collision involving, or damage to, any county vehicle or privately-owned vehicle in the service of the county operated by them or in their charge. The employee involved in such action shall make a report of the crash or damage in writing upon the proper forms within 24 hours. (See HCSO Department Policy #804 – Fleet Vehicle Crash)

Damage to Real or Personal Property: Any damage to real or personal property committed in the execution of official duties and responsibilities, in every instance shall be promptly documented in an incident report, and reported to the employee’s immediate supervisor. The supervisor shall report the incident involving the property to the Division Commander.

Damaged or inoperable inventoried property or equipment (except motor vehicles) shall be immediately transferred to the Purchasing Department through the use of forms required for this purpose.

Each employee shall be personally responsible for the identification items issued to them as a HCSO member (e.g., badge, mini badge, and identification card). An employee shall not permit any other person to borrow or use the identification items issued by the HCSO. Loss of such items shall be reported immediately to the Sheriff or his or her designee through the chain of command with a written report detailing the circumstances of the loss.

Employees shall not appropriate for their own use any evidence, lost, found, stolen, recovered, or county property.

Whenever any HCSO employee is suspended, resigns, or is separated from the agency due to termination, leave of absence, military leave, family leave, other extended absences either long term or temporary, death, or for any other reason, he or she shall surrender all assigned or issued county property (badge, mini badge, identification card, mag card) to Human Resources or his or her commanding supervisor. Additionally, the employee shall return his or her uniforms directly to Uniform Supply.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009                      

January 4, 2010

June 25, 2018

November 28, 2018

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