801 – Operation of County Vehicles

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Policy – General Use of County Vehicles

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) provides vehicles for employee use in order to accomplish its mission.

Vehicles are assigned to employees at the discretion of the Sheriff or his or her designee based on assignment, operational necessity, or any other criteria determined by the Sheriff. No employee has a right to a vehicle by virtue of his or her position.

Take-home vehicles may be authorized when the:

  1. Employee’s primary household is anywhere within Harris County, or
  2. Employee’s primary household is outside of Harris County, and a take-home vehicle has been specifically authorized by the employee’s bureau commander. See Section VIII of this policy for reporting and possible mileage reimbursement requirements imposed on employees residing outside Harris County.

For purposes of this policy, a primary household is defined as the location where an employee, spouse, family member, or other significant relation resides on a regular basis.

The Sheriff reserves the right to make the final determination of any take-home vehicle location considering evidence such as, but not limited to: driver’s license address, voter registration rolls, property tax rolls, and homestead exemption mailing address.

Unless specifically authorized in writing by the bureau commander, an employee denied take-home vehicle privilege will store his or her assigned vehicle in an appropriate location at the employee’s permanent assignment. No employee will park HCSO-assigned vehicles at non-assigned locations and then continue his or her daily commute in order to circumvent the intent of this policy except:

  1. In lieu of the employee’s permanent assignment location, the bureau commander may authorize a county-owned or leased vehicle to be stored at a secure government facility that is staffed and monitored on a 24-hour basis, and
  2. The employee must obtain written authorization from the government entity operating the facility to park at the location and submit the authorization along with a letter of request to the bureau commander.

The bureau commander will determine if the off-site parking location is appropriate and properly secure and may approve or deny the request. Documentation will be maintained in the employee’s personnel file.

Authorized use is defined as:

  1. Any lawful use during the employee’s scheduled tour of duty,
  2. Travel to and from work and home or car-share partner’s residence,
  3. Use while on scheduled call-out duty, except while on sick leave,
  4. Use in response to a supervisor’s order to duty, or
  5. Use not defined above that advances the mission of the HCSO and is approved by a supervisor.

Use of county-owned vehicles by employees is prohibited while on sick leave except when specifically authorized by a supervisor for conducting official business or involving exigent circumstances.

Extra Employment and the Use of County-Owned or Leased Vehicles

Without written authorization and approval of the bureau commander, county-owned or leased vehicles SHALL NOT be used:

  1. In the performance of any extra employment, or
  2. For transportation to and from any extra employment.

Any approved authorization is limited to the specific extra employment job contained within the written request.

Example: The employee requests the use of a county-owned or leased vehicle for an extra employment job(s) on the way home from work and receives approval. The approval is for that specific job(s) or circumstance(s) only.

NOTE: Approved authorization shall remain in effect for one (1) year, and the employee must submit an annual request for approval beginning the first business day of the new year.

Nationwide surveys have shown that the main causes of crashes and deaths occurred by police officers while driving are: excess speed (#1 cause) and distractions (#2 cause). When these two causes occur simultaneously, driving becomes an unjustifiable danger to both the HCSO employee and the public in general.

Pursuant to the Texas Transportation Code, motorists shall not be allowed to use cell phones to read, write, enter data, or send electronic messages while operating motor vehicles. Therefore, HCSO employees are prohibited from utilizing a cell phone to read, write, enter data, or send electronic messages while operating a motor vehicle.

Talking on a cell phone is discouraged and is only justified when necessary to receive direction or in support of a HCSO mission. This applies to driving a county-owned vehicle or any vehicle while on county time.

If a HCSO employee must use a cell phone for communication via text, e-mail, or social media site access, then the employee shall cease the operation of the motor vehicle prior to sending or receiving electronic data.

NOTE: While driving, deputies are limited to using their mobile data terminals (MDTs) for mapping, simple inquiries, and viewing the nature of an incoming message. Deputies may not respond to messages or conduct complex or multiple inquiries while driving.

Violation of this policy may subject the employee to disciplinary action to include termination.

No employee of the HCSO shall allow, at any time, an unauthorized person to operate a county-owned or leased vehicle or have in his or her possession the keys to such vehicle.

Employees operating or assigned any county vehicle shall not permit persons other than authorized employees of the HCSO to ride in such vehicle except persons required to be conveyed in the performance of duty or as authorized by order of a supervisor.

Unless specifically authorized by their bureau commander, employees shall not use county-owned vehicles outside Harris County except when conducting official HCSO business that has been approved by competent authority or when in hot pursuit of a suspect across Harris County boundaries.

HCSO employees shall possess a valid and current Texas driver’s license when operating vehicles of any description (private or county-owned or leased) and shall not violate any traffic laws except in cases of absolute emergency and then only in conformity with applicable traffic laws and ordinances. Employees shall set a good example for other persons in the operation of their vehicles.

All employees, passengers, and prisoners shall wear a seat belt at any time they are occupying a county-owned or leased vehicle. [CALEA Standard 41.3.3] Exceptions to the requirement to wear a seat belt may be made in the following case:

A potentially dangerous situation is either perceived or anticipated where the removal of the seat belt allows for a more rapid response to the situation.

Employees must be prepared to justify a deviation from this requirement.

Employees who are off-duty for more than nine (9) calendar days for any reason shall be required to turn in the county-owned or leased vehicle assigned to them until they return to regular active duty. This requirement shall include, but is not limited to, the following reasons:

  1. Leave of absence,
  2. Workers’ compensation,
  3. Military leave,
  4. Legislative leave, or
  5. Any combination of the above.

High Occupancy Vehicle and Toll Express Lanes

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County has converted all high occupancy vehicle (HOV) express lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT) express lanes. There are two self-declaration lanes at each toll site along the high occupancy vehicle and toll express lanes:

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County permits “on-duty” peace officers in official HCSO-owned or leased vehicles to use the“HOV ONLY” lane during normal hours of operation.

All “on-duty” officers in official vehicles shall use the “HOV ONLY” lane at the toll site.

Prior notification to Metro is not required. However, deputies in unmarked vehicles should be prepared to provide identification when entering or using the lanes.

Toll Only

These lanes charge tolls for single or below minimum required occupancy during specific time periods.

NOTE: The non-revenue tags issued by the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA EZTags) to HCSO-owned or leased vehicles are not applicable to the “TOLL ONLY” lanes; therefore, these lanes shall not be utilized.

Employees operating personally-owned vehicles shall comply with all laws pertaining to high occupancy vehicle and toll express lanes. Any other use of these lanes by HCSO personnel is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action.

Policy – Maintenance of County Vehicles

All HCSO-owned vehicles shall be maintained in a manner that reflects the pride and professionalism of the agency. Proper vehicle care, cleanliness, and maintenance are significant factors contributing to safety and crash prevention. Each employee operating a county vehicle is responsible for ensuring that the maintenance cycle is adhered to and that the cleanliness is upheld as set forth in this section.

This policy is intended to increase the safety of the vehicle operators and the general public and to increase the operational life cycle of the vehicles. Vehicles working in a law enforcement capacity experience harsher operating conditions than normal automobiles. Additionally, these vehicles are expected to function at a higher degree of performance in sometimes dangerous conditions. As such, proper preventive and corrective maintenance is critical and should be the responsibility of every employee.

Preventive Maintenance

Daily, prior to the start of each shift, each vehicle operator will complete a safety inspection and inventory of the vehicle. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure that all equipment is in proper working order and to identify any discrepancies before they become safety issues. The following list identifies the minimum areas and components to be inspected:

Exterior

  1. Body, paint, and graphics
  2. Tires and wheels
  3. Glass
  4. Antennas
  5. Visual fluid leaks under or around vehicle
  6. Registration sticker

Interior

  1. Cleanliness
  2. Under the front and rear seats
  3. Gas card
  4. Prisoner partition
  5. Radar tuning forks
  6. Issued computer screen cleaning cloth
  7. Rear door locks and windows deactivated
  8. Check for weapons and contraband
  9. Front and rear seat belts
  10. Shotgun rack (if applicable)
  11. Wires hanging under dashboard
  12. The use of tobacco products within a HCSO vehicle is expressly prohibited.

Trunk

  1. Spare tire, jack, and tools
  2. Flares
  3. Fire extinguisher
  4. First aid kit (if applicable)
  5. Stop sticks (if applicable)
  6. Exposed wires

Mechanical

  1. Look for “check engine” or other warning indicator lights.
  2. If a warning indicator light is illuminated except “door ajar,” “trunk open” or “low washer fluid,” the vehicle should be downed until serviced at HCSO-approved maintenance facilities.
  3. In the case of a “low tire pressure” warning indicator, the tires’ pressure should be checked and filled if low.
  4. In the event of a “check engine” indicator, the fuel cap should be checked for proper tightness. If either of these procedures causes the indicator to turn off, the vehicle is not required to be downed for service.
    • NOTE: Always shut down the vehicle’s engine when fueling the vehicle. Failure to do so is not only a safety hazard, but it may also cause a “check engine” warning indicator.
  5. Lights (headlights and taillights)
  6. Turn signals
  7. Windshield wipers
  8. Low fluid levels will normally be indicated by warning lights. Regardless, the operator should visually check fluid levels each time the vehicle is fueled.
  9. If low fluid levels are discovered, the vehicle operator shall replenish the fluids to normal operational levels. Fluids will be distributed to the patrol districts and available to operators for this purpose.
  10. If the low levels are attributed to a persistent leak, the vehicle will be downed until serviced at a HCSO-approved maintenance facility.

Vehicle Equipment

Communications equipment and radio
  1. Mobile data terminal (computer):
    • The computer shall be kept clean from dirt and grime. Due to the sensitivity of the LCD computer screen only the issued screen cleaning cloth may be used. Only alcohol shall be used to remove the dirt and grime from the computer body and keyboard.
    • Computer removal shall not be allowed unless approved by the bureau commander. At no time shall a computer be moved between vehicles unless approved by Fleet Services personnel.
  2. Mobile printer
  3. Driver’s license swipe reader
  4. Emergency lights
  5. Siren and public address components
  6. Automatic vehicle locator (AVL)
  7. Radar components

In-car digital video system and camera(s)

This section pertains to all bureaus with assigned vehicles containing digital camera systems:

At the beginning of each shift, each HCSO employee with a vehicle equipped with an in-car digital video system shall log on to the system using his or her HCSO assigned user name, vehicle number, district or department, and personal identification (PID) number. After signing on, each such employee shall:

  1. Conduct a test of the video and audio recording systems to ensure the systems are working properly. The video created during this testing phase shall be labeled (“tagged”) to indicate a test of the equipment was conducted.
  2. If any part of the camera system (video or audio) is found to be malfunctioning, the HCSO employee is required to notify his or her on-duty supervisor immediately and to contact the Harris County Help Desk to ensure any malfunction is corrected or repaired promptly.

During the operation of the vehicle, the HCSO employee shall maintain the digital video system in working order and shall NOT do anything to disable, obscure, or cause the system to cease recording. Any action intentionally made to hamper any recording or to erase any existing recording shall be subject to discipline, including possible termination.

Each bureau shall designate a supervisor to conduct random reviews of the test video and audio recorded under these procedures to ensure compliance.

At the end of each shift, each HCSO employee with a vehicle equipped with a digital video system shall determine if there is any recorded event on the vehicle’s digital video recorder that is of a significant nature of which his or her immediate supervisor or the Sheriff should be made aware. In such instance, the deputy SHALL inform his or her on-duty supervisor of such significant event, and the supervisor shall inform the bureau commander. If in doubt, the deputy shall report the event to his or her direct supervisor.

Each employee utilizing a vehicle equipped with a digital video system shall note on his or her daily activity record (utilizing the comment section when signing on for duty) that he or she conducted the required camera inspection. If the digital video system is found NOT to be working, the employee shall contact the Harris County Help Desk, an on-duty supervisor, and note that notification has been made on his or her daily activity record.

The shift supervisor responsible for verifying the roster shall verify that such inspection occurred. The shift supervisor’s signature verifies that the deputies listed on the roster are in fact working and, if assigned a vehicle equipped with a digital video system, have conducted the required inspection and have made the necessary notations on their daily activity records. If the division uses the TeleStaff system, the supervisor will utilize the “Check-in” feature for each employee in lieu of affixing his or her signature.

Additional Equipment:

  1. No additional equipment may be installed on or in HCSO-owned fleet vehicles without written authorization from the bureau commander. Upon approval from the bureau commander, the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section will verify there are no conflicts between the requested additional equipment and required equipment.
  2. The Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section will oversee the installation of all additional equipment.

Discrepancy Resolution and Repair

A vehicle operator who identifies a discrepancy or malfunction with the vehicle or any component will immediately notify his or her supervisor. The supervisor is responsible for determining the safety impact of operating the vehicle.

In the event that a vehicle malfunction or discrepancy is discovered, the supervisor will notify the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section at the first opportunity. If the supervisor determines that continued operation of the vehicle causes an unsafe environment for the driver or the public, the vehicle will be downed for service until it is repaired.

All vehicles with mechanical problems requiring towing should be towed to the Harris County Vehicle Maintenance Center where the vehicle’s normal maintenance has been performed.

Scheduled Service

Each fleet vehicle will be placed on a maintenance schedule as prescribed by the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section. Every vehicle operator has the responsibility to ensure that the schedule is followed.

Each vehicle will have a service sticker placed on the driver’s side of the windshield. This sticker will indicate the next service time for the vehicle. Although servicing of the vehicle at the exact interval indicated may not be possible, it shall not vary by greater than 10% of mileage noted on the service tag.

In the event of an unreadable or missing sticker, the operator shall contact the service center to verify service time, date, or mileage.

Policy – Issuance of County Vehicles

Assignment

Employees, by nature of job assignment and responsibilities, may be assigned a county vehicle at the discretion of the Sheriff or his or her designee. No employee has any right or entitlement to the use of a county vehicle. An employee may be denied assignment of, or continued use of, a county vehicle if the Sheriff determines this to be in the best interest of the HCSO.

Issuance of Loaner Vehicle

The Loaner Vehicle Program is to have readily available, properly equipped and operable patrol vehicles to be utilized while a deputy’s assigned patrol vehicle is out of service.

Loaner vehicles will be maintained at all district substations.

Under no circumstances will a loaner vehicle be taken home or parked anywhere other than at the designated district substation, unless directed otherwise by the Division Commander.

Loaner vehicles, keys, and remote fobs will be maintained by the district’s fleet manager. Only supervisors (or a designee) are authorized to retrieve spare keys from the master key box located at the station. The keys, remote fobs, and paperwork shall be readily accessible to all supervisors/deputies for issuance on all shifts.

Procedures for utilizing a loaner vehicle

  1. The deputy shall notify a supervisor and request the use of a loaner vehicle.
  2. The supervisor or designee shall enter the date, deputy’s name, and equipment number into the log book. The issuing supervisor shall place their name or initials by the entry.
  3. The deputy and the supervisor shall inspect the vehicle and document the inspection on the vehicle inspection form. The supervisor’s signature is required on the vehicle inspection form.
  4. Notate any and all defects, including body or interior damage prior to taking possession of the vehicle.
  5. At the end of the deputy’s assigned duty hours, the vehicle will be immediately returned to the station. The supervisor or designee shall place their name or initial in the log book indicating the proper inspection and return of the loaner vehicle.
  6. Any new damage or defects to the vehicle must be brought to the attention of the immediate supervisor.

The deputy SHALL NOT hand the spare key to another deputy. The key MUST be signed out by and turned into an on duty supervisor or designee. Deputies are strictly prohibited from making any unauthorized copies of the loaner vehicle keys and may face disciplinary action if any unauthorized key is made.

Both inspections forms, once completed, shall be placed in the district’s fleet manager’s box for filing or designated person maintaining the fleet inspection forms.

The deputy utilizing a loaner vehicle shall ensure the vehicle is refueled before returning the loaner vehicle at the end of the shift.

The deputy will be held responsible for all unreported damage, dirt, or items left (i.e. weapons, drugs, and evidence) inside the loaner vehicle.

Take-Home Vehicle Committee

A take-home vehicle committee shall be appointed by the Sheriff and consist of at least three (3) bureau commanders. The committee shall hear, review, and recommend which positions or employees’ job duties are such that take-home vehicles should be assigned to those employees.

The recommendation will be based on documented operational necessity, available resources, and the advancement of HCSO goals and objectives.

The committee shall consider bureau commander recommendations and needs prior to the submission of a list of operationally necessary take-home vehicles to the Sheriff for final approval.

Vehicle Cleanliness

The interior and exterior cleanliness of fleet vehicles is a concern for reasons of sanitation, safety, and professionalism. Fleet vehicles will be maintained in a clean condition free from filth, food, and clutter and in accordance with the provisions below:

Interior

  1. Food: The vehicle shall be free from leftover food and food not in a sealed container. All leftover food shall be disposed of properly.
  2. Loose papers and trash: All papers and trash will be removed at the end of every shift and before any type of service is performed on a vehicle or components.
  3. Excessive dirt: While it is understandable that vehicles will become dirty, every effort should be made to limit the extent. When conditions exist, such as caked-on mud, the operator shall clean the vehicle at the earliest possible time and before any service is performed on the vehicle or components.
  4. Spills and stains: Spills and stains shall be cleaned at the first opportunity. Every effort shall be made to remove any residue from the spilled material and reduce staining.
  5. Mold and mildew: Due to the humidity, mold and mildew has a tendency to form between the front seats and the prisoner partition. Mold and mildew represent a health hazard and, as such, this area shall be regularly checked and wiped down with a towel and cleaner.
  6. Loose articles: Loose articles in a vehicle become projectiles during collisions and sudden stops. Operators are prohibited from placing non-secured items in the passenger compartment. If an external keyboard or mouse is utilized by the vehicle operator, they shall be secured when not in use.
  7. Airbag zone: Airbags detonate with more than 1200 pounds of force at speeds that can exceed 230 miles per hour. As such, any item in the airbag zone becomes a deadly projectile. Operators are prohibited from placing or mounting any item that falls inside of the airbag zone or attaching anything to the dashboard of the vehicle.

Exterior

Stickers: Only HCSO-approved stickers shall be affixed to any fleet vehicle.

Road grime and dirt: All excessive dirt on the vehicle exterior, including on the emergency equipment, shall be cleaned at the earliest opportunity.

Policy – County Vehicle Inspections

A vehicle inspection will be conducted by a supervisor every thirty (30) days and when there is a car-share change.

A copy of the completed inspection form will be submitted to the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section by the fifth day of the following month.

The goal of this inspection is to document the condition of the vehicle and ensure compliance with this policy.

Deficiencies discovered during the inspection shall be annotated on the vehicle inspection form.

The Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section personnel will inspect all vehicles for condition and adherence to this policy whenever service is performed.

All deficiencies pertaining to cleanliness and abuse will be noted on the vehicle inspection sheet and forwarded to the bureau commander and the Sheriff or his or her designee.

Divisions will maintain completed inspection forms for eighteen (18) months.

The Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section may decline service until the condition of the vehicle is in compliance with this policy.

Computerized Gas Dispensing System

Each person issued a gas card for access to designated fuel pumps will be held accountable for dispensed gasoline by an identifying account and personal identification number.

Fuel cards are authorized for fuel purchases only. Any other use is considered misuse and is strictly prohibited.

Only regular unleaded fuel is authorized for use in county vehicles. Premium grades of fuel are prohibited.

The purchase of diesel fuel is authorized for those vehicles requiring diesel.

Any misuse or abuse of the gasoline facility will result in disciplinary action.

Fuel cards will be dispensed through the bureau commander, and each card must be signed for upon receipt. Upon transfer or separation from the HCSO for any reason, the card shall be surrendered to the bureau commander.

Lost or stolen cards: In the event the gas card is lost or stolen, such loss shall be reported immediately (within 24 hours) to the appropriate bureau commander through the chain of command by an affidavit of loss with an incident report detailing the circumstances leading to such loss. Additionally, the employee must notify the Harris County Vehicle Maintenance Center.

Damaged or inoperative cards: All damaged or inoperative cards will be returned to the issuing bureau commander in order for a new card to be issued.

Personal identification number (PIN) issuance: An account and PIN will be issued to each HCSO employee authorized to purchase fuel at county expense.

A copy of the pump operating procedures and station locations may be obtained from the Harris County Vehicle Maintenance Center.

Policy – Official Business Parking Placard

The following procedures shall be adhered to by all employees regarding usage of the official business parking placards:

  1. Personnel operating county vehicles who may need to park at metered spaces in the City of Houston or other jurisdictions while engaged in the performance of officially-assigned duties shall indicate their status by placing the official business parking placard on the dashboard of the county vehicle.
  2. A county vehicle may not exceed more than four (4) hours parked at a metered space (City of Houston Parking Ordinance Section 26-157).
  3. At no time shall a county vehicle be parked in “No Parking” red zones, handicap zones, or other non-parking zones unless responding to an emergency.
  4. The official business parking placards will only be issued by the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section and are specifically issued to the county vehicle, not to the individual employee. The placards shall remain with the vehicle at all times.
  5. The official business parking placards will display the HCSO badge, the Harris County seal, and a special issued hologram seal of the City of Houston. Parking placards will also display the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the designated county vehicle to which the parking placard is assigned.
  6. Damaged parking placards shall be returned to the Fleet Services section for replacement.
  7. Only parking placards issued by the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section shall be utilized.
  8. Personnel shall not use other parking placards, department credentials, or other methods of identification in county or personal vehicles for the purpose of parking in metered spaces.

The official business parking placards shall not be used in personal vehicles under any circumstances.

Any employee found using an alternative parking placard or other means of identification in county or personal vehicles will be subject to disciplinary actions.

NOTE: HCSO Outside Patrol units shall monitor for improper use of parking placards and other improper use of department credentials in vehicles and take the appropriate action to enforce compliance.

Policy – Citation Dismissal

The following procedures shall be adhered to by all employees regarding the dismissal of parking citations while parked at a metered parking space during official county business:

  1. If a county vehicle receives a citation for a parking meter violation while the employee is in the performance of official county business, the employee may request for the citation to be dismissed.

The following procedures shall be followed for citation dismissal:

  1. The employee shall complete all appropriate sections of the “Request for Parking Citation Dismissal Affidavit” and “Affidavit of Harris County Sheriff for Limited Purpose of Parking Citation Dismissal” (see attachments).
  2. Upon completion of the “Request for Parking Citation Dismissal Affidavit,” the employee shall have the document notarized by a notary public.
  3. Both affidavits, along with a cover letter detailing the circumstances by which the citation was issued, shall be sent through the employee’s chain of the command to his or her respective bureau commander.
  4. The employee shall have 48 hours to complete and submit all affidavits through his or her chain of command.
  5. Upon receiving both affidavits, the bureau commander will forward the documents via memorandum to the Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section.
  6. This memorandum shall be signed by the bureau commander and include a synopsis of the circumstances by which the citation was issued.
  7. The bureau commander’s signature is a validation to the Sheriff that the information is accurate and that the dismissal is justified.
  8. The Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section will coordinate with the Sheriff for signature and dismissal of the citation.

If approved, the Sheriff shall sign the “Affidavit of Harris County Sheriff for Limited Purpose of Parking Citation Dismissal” certifying the employee was on official county business. Only the Sheriff may sign the affidavit for dismissal.

The Communications and Technology Bureau’s Fleet Services section has 45 calendar days from the date the citation was issued to submit completed documentation to the municipal court for citation dismissal.

If the City of Houston rejects the request for dismissal, the employee assigned to the vehicle that received the citation will be responsible for resolving the citation through payment of the fine or other requirement of the municipal court.

Failure to resolve any parking citation issued to county or leased vehicles properly may result in disciplinary action and revocation of county vehicle privileges.

Policy – Residence Outside Harris County

The following procedures apply to any employee who resides outside Harris County and has been authorized a take-home vehicle pursuant to Section I of this policy:

Commute Affidavit

Each HCSO employee who is assigned a county-owned take-home vehicle will be required to complete and sign a commute affidavit that establishes the employee’s home residence and the travel distance from that residence to the Harris County line.

NOTE: Mileage should be determined by vehicle odometer reading and will be verified for reasonableness using Google Maps.

If an alternative secured location has been authorized pursuant to Section I, subsection (B)(3) of this policy, then travel distance from that alternative location to the Harris County line will be used.

Reporting requirement: If the distance between the employee’s home residence (or alternative location) and the county line is greater than 25 miles, the employee is required to complete Harris County Auditor’s Form 775C, “Excess Commuting Mileage Reimbursement Form,” on a monthly basis and submit reimbursement for excess mileage (refer to Section VIII, subsection B of this policy).

Reporting exclusion: If the distance between the employee’s home residence (or alternative location) and the county line is 25 miles or less, the employee is still required to complete and sign the commute affidavit and is not required to perform any further reporting.

NOTE: “On call” status does not exempt an employee from any aspect of this policy.

Mandatory update: Any employee who is assigned a take-home vehicle and changes residence (or is authorized a new alternative parking location) is required to complete, sign, and submit an updated commute affidavit within one week (7 calendar days) of the change.

Document accuracy and timeliness: Employees who falsify information on the commute affidavit or Harris County Auditor’s Form 775C or fail to submit changes within the given deadline will be subject to disciplinary action up to and potentially including termination.

Reporting Excess Mileage

Each HCSO employee who is assigned a take-home vehicle and whose commute affidavit shows a distance greater than 25 miles between his or her home residence (or alternative location) and the Harris County line will be required to complete Harris County Auditor’s Form 775C, “Excess Commuting Mileage Reimbursement Form,” on a monthly basis and submit reimbursement via cash, check, or money order to the HCSO Business Office.

Deadline: Reimbursement forms and payments are required to be submitted to the HCSO Business Office no later than three (3) business days following the end of a calendar month for the prior month of commute activity.

Reimbursement rate: The current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard mileage rate ($0.53 per mile) will be used to calculate excess mileage reimbursement. For example: An employee’s commute for the day (round trip distance to and from the Harris County line) is a total of 58 miles. The reimbursement due for that day is the excess miles (8) × $0.53 = $4.48.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

August 3, 2009May 27, 2014October 9, 2017 
August 25, 2010June 24, 2014March 9, 2020 
February 8, 2011February 19, 2015  
January 24, 2012February 25, 2015  
March 8, 2012August 6, 2015  
June 7, 2012February 9, 2016  
April 9, 2014March 11, 2016  

Affidavit for Parking Citation Dismissal

This affidavit can only be used when a vehicle received a parking citation while on official police business for the HCSO. It must be signed by the Sheriff and notarized. It remains subject to municipal court approval.

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