Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Receives Top Honors in DWI Program
Harris County Sheriff's Office
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  Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Receives Top Honors in DWI Program


HARRIS COUNTY, TX - Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rhonda Lawson has received the ‘Spotlight on Success’ Award from the SOBER (Saving Ourselves by Education and Recover) Court Unit.

The Harris County SOBER DWI Program was created by State mandate in 2008. It consists of judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, probation officers, treatment professionals, and law enforcement – the ‘Spotlight on Success’ award has never been awarded to a deputy in its history. The program targets high-risk DWI offenders with an intensive supervision program featuring treatment and accountability.

The law enforcement component of the program, provided by Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, is essential to the success of the program. Sheriff’s Office Deputies provide invaluable services, such as visiting offenders’ homes to ensure they are living in a sober environment, as well as providing encouragement and moral support that is often missing in the probationers’ lives. Studies reveal that participants in DWI Court programs are up to 65% less likely to re-offend than offenders who are sentenced to jail or standard probation.

Under the direction of Harris County CSCD Director, Dr. Teresa May, the Harris County SOBER DWI Court program was expanded to include five SOBER DWI Court dockets, led by Harris County Criminal Court at Law judges, Robin Brown, Diane Bull, Natalie Fleming, Paula Goodhart, Jay Karahan and Don Smyth.

Improvements in the program and risk assessment have allowed the courts to significantly increase the number of high-risk DWI clients than can be admitted into the program.

Judge Robin Brown, SOBER Court judge and Co-Chair of the Harris County Standing Committee that oversees the probation and pretrial services departments, remarked, “Deputy Rhonda has set the standard for excellence in our program. She is an ambassador of goodwill to the community and a model of what a dedicated peace officer should be. Deputy Rhonda is unwavering in her support for this program and the clients. She holds each client accountable and gives them the support they need to achieve sobriety. Often when clients graduate it is Deputy Rhonda that the clients are first to thank.”

Dep. Lawson stated, “This is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. This is why we became peace officers: to help people, and make our community safer. I feel truly humbled and grateful to receive this reward. And, being a part of our clients’ recovery has been the best reward of all.”

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is profoundly appreciative and proud of Deputy Lawson and the accomplishments of the SOBER Court team.


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