Harris County, Texas

Harris County, Texas

Infobox U.S. County
county = Harris County
state = Texas

map size = 250
founded = December 22, 1836
seat = Houston | area_total_sq_mi =1778
area_land_sq_mi =1729
area_water_sq_mi =49
area percentage = 2.75%
census yr = 2007
pop = 3935855
density_km2 =868
web = www.co.harris.tx.us

Harris County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As of 2000 U.S. Census, the county had a population of 3,400,578 (though a 2007 estimate placed the population at 3,935,855), making it the most populous county in Texas and the third most populous county in the United States. Its county seat is HoustonGR|6.

Harris County is named for John Richardson Harris, an early settler of the area.


The county was founded on December 22, 1836 as Harrisburg County and Harrisburgh County. The name was changed to Harris County in December 1839.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,778 square miles (4,604 km²), of which, 1,729 square miles (4,478 km²) of it is land and 49 square miles (127 km²) of it (2.75%) is water.

Major highways

Texas House of Representatives




Several school districts serve Harris County communities.

Harris County operates its own public library system, the Harris County Public Library.

In addition, Houston has the Houston Public Library, a city-controlled public library system.

The cities of Baytown, Bellaire, Deer Park, and Pasadena have their own city-controlled libraries.

Emergency services

Police services

Incorporated areas operate their own police departments.

Harris County operates the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which serves unincorporated areas and supplements police forces of incorporated areas.

Harris County also has a constable for each of its eight precincts and hundreds of deputies assigned to each. They mainly serve in a patrol function, established to maintain peace in the county as well as providing security to county buildings such as court houses and district attorney's offices.

Fire services

Harris County maintains the Harris County Fire Marshall office [http://www.hcfmo.net/default.aspx] to assist with fire investigations.

Incorporated cities operate their own fire departments; some cities share fire departments.

Fire departments serving unincorporated areas:
* Aldine
* [http://www.avfd.com/ Atascocita VFD]
* [http://www.cavfd.com/ Champions VFD]
* Channelview VFD
* Cloverleaf VFD
* [http://www.communityvfd.org/ Community VFD] (covers unincorporated southwest Harris County and unincorporated northeast Fort Bend County)
* [http://www.fire-ems.net/firedept/view/CrosbyTX Crosby VFD]
* [http://www.cyfairvfd.com/ Cypress-Fairbanks VFD]
* [http://www.cypresscreekvfd.com/ Cypress Creek VFD] and [http://www.ccems.com/ EMS]
* [http://www.eastexfd.com/ Easttex FD]
* [http://www.forestbendfire.com/ Forest Bend VFD] (Southeast unincorporated Harris County)
* [http://huffmanvfd.com//index3.html Huffman VFD]
* [http://www.kleinfiredept.com/ Klein VFD]
* [http://www.littleyorkvfd.com/ Little York VFD]
* [http://www.northwestfiredept.com/ Northwest VFD]
* [http://www.ponderosavfd.com/ Ponderosa VFD]
* [http://www.rosehillfire.org/ Rosehill FD]
* [http://www.springfd.com/ Spring FD]
* [http://departments.firehouse.com/dept/HockleyTX Tri-County FD]
* [http://www.westi-10fd.org/ West I-10 FD]
* Westfield

Political organization

The head of a Texas County, as set up in the Texas Constitution, is the County Judge, who sits as the chair of the county's Commissioners' Court. As of 2007, this position in Harris County is held by Judge Ed Emmett. The county is split into 4 geographical divisions called Precincts. Each precinct elects a Commissioner to sit as a representative of their precinct on the commissioners court and also for the oversight of county functions in their area.

Other elected positions in Harris County include a County Attorney, a County Clerk, a District Attorney, a District Clerk, a Sheriff, 8 Constables, a Tax Assessor-Collector, a County Treasurer, and every judge in the county except municipal judges, who are appointed by the officials of their respective cities.

Many of the organs of the Harris County government reside in the Harris County Campus in Downtown Houston.

Hospital services

Within Harris County, hospital services for the indigent and needy are provided by the Harris County Hospital District, a separate governmental entity. Harris County Hospital District operates three hospitals: LBJ General Hospital, Quentin Mease Community Hospital, and Ben Taub General Hospital, as well as many clinics.

Additionally, numerous private and public hospitals operate in Harris County, including institutions in Texas Medical Center and throughout the county.


Mass transit

Many areas in Harris County are served by Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO), a public transportation agency headquartered in Downtown Houston.

Intercity buses

Greyhound Bus Lines operates various stations throughout Harris County.


Two commercial airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, are located in Houston and in Harris County. The city of Houston operates Ellington Field, a general aviation and military airport in Harris County.

General aviation airports for fixed-wing aircraft outside of Houston include:
**La Porte Municipal Airport in La Porte
**Baytown Airport in unincorporated east Harris County, north of Baytown
*Privately owned, public use
**West Houston Airport is a general aviation airport located in unincorporated western Harris County, west of the Houston city limits.
**Dan Jones International Airport in unincorporated northwestern Harris County
**Weiser Air Park in unincorporated northern Harris County
**David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, a general aviation airport, is located outside of the Tomball city limits in unincorporated northwest Harris County.
**Sack-O-Grande Acroport (also known as Harbican Airport) is located in western unincorporated Harris County.
*Privately owned, private use
**Hoffpauir Airport is located in western unincorporated Harris County.

Heliports outside of Houston include (all are privately owned, private use):
*Darmar Medical Emergency Heliport is located in western unincorporated Harris County, adjacent to the city of Katy.
*Rwave Heliport in western unincorporated Harris County, adjacent to the city of Katy


The Harris County jail facilities are in northern Downtown on the north side of the Buffalo Bayou. The 1200 Jail, [ [http://www.hcso.hctx.net/detentioncommand/detention/1200_jail.asp The 1200 Jail] ." "Harris County, Texas". Accessed September 12, 2008.] the 1307 Jail, (originally a TDCJ facility, leased by the county) [" [http://www.hcso.hctx.net/detentioncommand/detention/1307_jail.asp The 1307 Jail] ." "Harris County, Texas". Accessed September 12, 2008.] , and the 701 Jail (formed from existing warehouse storage space) are on the same site. [" [http://www.hcso.hctx.net/detentioncommand/detention/701_jail.asp The 701 Jail] ." "Harris County, Texas". Accessed September 12, 2008.]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates some correctional facilities in Harris County, including:
* Kegans Unit, located in Downtown Houston, is a state jail for men. It is in the north of Downtown along the north side of the Buffalo Bayou, next to the county facilities. [" [http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/unitdirectory/hm.htm Kegans (HM)] ." "Texas Department of Criminal Justice". Accessed September 12, 2008.]
* Pam Lychner Unit, named after Pam Lychner and located in unincorporated northeast Harris County, east of the city of Humble, is a state jail for men. [" [http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/mediasvc/connections/JanFeb2003/saluting_v10no3.html Saluting Employees January/February 2003] ." "Texas Department of Criminal Justice". Accessed September 12, 2008.] [" [http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/unitdirectory/aj.htm Lychner (AJ)] ." "Texas Department of Criminal Justice". Accessed September 12, 2008.]

The South Texas Intermediate Sanction Facility Unit, a parole confinement facility for males operated by Global Expertise in Outsourcing, is in Downtown Houston, west of Minute Maid Park. [" [http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/unitdirectory/xm.htm SOUTH TEXAS (XM)] ." "Texas Department of Criminal Justice". Accessed September 12, 2008.]


* Harris County receives more tornado warnings than any other county. [ [http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4564928.html Thousands could die if a giant tornado ever hits Houston] , Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle, Feb. 20, 2007.]
* Harris County has sent more people to the death chamber than any other county. [ [http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-harris_28edi.ART.State.Edition1.423c1e1.html Death Penalty Uneven] , Dallas News, Jul. 28, 2007.]


Harris County Campus

See also

* Harris County, Georgia
* USNS "Harris County" (T-LST-822)


External links

* [http://www.co.harris.tx.us/ Harris County government’s website]
* [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/HH/hch7.html "The Handbook of Texas Online:" Harris County]
* [http://texashistory.unt.edu/widgets/pager.php?object_id=meta-pth-6725&recno=23&path=/data/UNT/Books/meta-pth-6725.tkl Account of the early days of Harris County, 1824 - 1838] from [http://texashistory.unt.edu/permalink/meta-pth-6725 Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas] by John Henry Brown, hosted by [http://texashistory.unt.edu/ The Portal to Texas History]
* [http://www.enhouston.com/ Harris County local event listings]

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