311 – Political Activities
This policy provides guidelines for all Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) employees to follow regarding involvement in political activities. This policy applies to all employees and does not intend to restrict any employee’s right to participate lawfully in the political process as a United States citizen.
A. Interference With Lawful Acts:
Employees will not prevent or obstruct any citizen from lawfully participating in the political process.
B. Seeking Elective Office:
Any employee seeking elective office must:
1. Notify the Sheriff of the employee’s candidacy by submitting a letter through the chain of command.
2. The letter shall include a statement of understanding that no activities related to seeking elective office may be performed on duty or in uniform.
3. The letter shall also include a statement of understanding that no Harris County resources or materials may be used for seeking elective office.
C. Campaigning and Public Comments:
1. Employees, while in uniform or on duty, will not take an active part in any person’s campaign for an elective position. This includes, but is not limited to: making political speeches, passing out cards or other political literature, writing letters, signing petitions, soliciting votes, or making public derogatory remarks about candidates for such elective positions.
2. Employees who are on duty will not publicly announce opinions regarding any matter that could be construed by any person as an official opinion of the HCSO.
3. Employees who are off duty will not appear in uniform when expressing their personal opinions or when representing any group.
4. Employees will not use their office in any manner for the purpose of advancing their own or another’s political campaign interest.
5. Employees will not place any written or graphic material on county vehicles or property without written permission from the Sheriff.
6. Employees will not appear in any political advertisement, whether in print or video, wearing any portion of the department-issued uniform or any other uniform which resembles that issued by the HCSO.
D. Seeking Personal Preferment:
Employees will not solicit petitions, seek influence, or request the intervention of any person outside the department for purposes of personal preferment, advantage, transfer, advancement, promotion, or change of duty for themselves or for any other person.
This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:
December 17, 2009
August 25, 2010
December 2, 2020