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HPD Chief Art Acevedo leaving

Headed to Miami.

Police Chief Art Acevedo is leaving Houston to take over the Miami Police Department, the chief told his officers in an email obtained by the Chronicle.

Acevedo informed HPD troops in an email dated Monday, March 15, that some officers working Sunday night received early. The Miami Police Department is expected to announce the news at a 9 a.m. Monday press conference.

“This is like getting the Tom Brady or the Michael Jordan of police chiefs,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told the Miami Herald Sunday.

In the email, Acevedo thanked officers and called his departure “truly bittersweet.”

“We have been through so much as an extended family,” he wrote. “Hurricane Harvey, two World Series, a Super Bowl, (Imelda), the summer of protest, and most recently, an ice storm of epic proportion. On top of all this, we have sadly buried six of our fallen heroes.”

Acevedo said he hadn’t been looking to move, “but with the end of Mayor Turner’s final term in office fast approaching and my strong desire to continue serving as a police officer, we decided that the timing for this move was good. Good because you will continue to serve with the strong support of Mayor (Sylvester) Turner and his council colleagues and good because Executive Assistant Chiefs (Matt) Slinkard and (Troy) Finner are ready and highly capable of continuing to move our department forward.”

The story goes into Chief Acevedo’s career and the main things that happened on his watch, so read the rest to review the history. It’s safe to say there’s a range of opinion out there about Chief Acevedo. He definitely had his good qualities, while also being a fairly straightforward law-and-order guy. He was more talk than action on police reform items, which is a big reason why some folks were not impressed by him. Of course, the impetus and agenda for reform come from the Mayor, and that will be top of mind for many people as we consider who will succeed Acevedo.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed Monday that Police Chief Art Acevedo is leaving for Miami, Fla., a decision the mayor said caught him by surprise.

“I hate to see him leave the city of Houston,” Turner said. “But I also realize this is an excellent, extraordinary opportunity for him at a time when he is one of the nation’s leading voices in law enforcement.”

Acevedo informed Turner of his decision Sunday at around 5 p.m., Turner said, acknowledging he had received no prior hint about his police chief’s departure. Acevedo never formally applied to be Miami’s top cop and was not on anyone’s radar there “other than just a few people at City Hall,” the Miami Herald reported Monday.

Turner said Acevedo will stay in Houston for a few more weeks. He said he would announce a new chief by the end of the week, though it was not clear if that appointment would be an interim or permanent replacement.

The mayor declined to say whether he would look to hire Acevedo’s successor from within the department or elsewhere. He downplayed the significance of the chief’s departure, while praising his tenure in Houston.

“No one person is indispensable,” Turner said. “It is about the organization and the institution that you put together. …I would like to believe that we are building a city that even if one person leaves, or two or three, this institution, this cruise ship, will continue to move forward.”

Acevedo’s replacement will inherit a department of more than 5,000 officers, which Turner has pledged to grow even amid calls from activists to divert funding to other city departments in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota last year. The mayor has said he plans to funds six police cadet classes next fiscal year, instead of the usual five, which he said he necessary to fight an ongoing crime wave in Houston.

Last year, Turner convened a task force to recommend reforms to the police department and said he supported “almost all” of the recommendations laid out by the group in October. He defended the slow progress of implementing the reforms, such as bolstering the city’s Independent Police Oversight Board and tightening disciplinary rules for officers, pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent winter storm.

“Many of those things are being implemented as we speak,” Turner said. “My timetable doesn’t mean you don’t have winter storms. …Nature has its own timetables.”

[…]

At-Large Councilmember Letitia Plummer, who pushed most aggressively for police reform during last year’s budget debate, said reform should be top of mind in selecting a new chief. She said it needs to be someone who is open minded and will help implement the recommendations from a task force Turner appointed last year.

“Whoever that person is, as soon as I hear the name, I’m making a phone call,” Plummer said. “That task force worked hard on getting that done, and they delivered an impeccable document. I don’t believe that document needs to sit on the shelf.”

The councilmember said she did not have anyone in mind that fits the bill.

“Every time someone exits, in my opinion, it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to make a really great choice,” Plummer said. “It’s a choice now. We have clean slate. So let’s choose someone that understands the systemic issues that we’re dealing with when it comes to policing. Let’s find a chief that can be a partner in making (reform) happen.”

I’m with CM Plummer on this one. This is indeed an opportunity. Let’s take advantage of it. I wish Chief Acevedo well in his next phase. I wish his successor even better in the next phase of HPD. The Trib and Stace have more.

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5 Comments

  1. David Fagan says:

    I hope CM Plummer the best, but seeing how this mayor has 2 more years, I think he can talk his way through and leave this issue for someone else.

    I wonder who Sam Pena is applying for?

  2. Jason Hochman says:

    He was only here for what? Five years? Just long enough to make a mess of things, and now he’s jetting away, on his eastward trip from when he worked for CHiPs and then to Austin, and then Houston, now Miami.

    Does Letitia Plummer understand the systemic issues that are occurring in policing? Such as the Murder-demic going on. I have heard that Obe Noir was gunned down in daylight in downtown, DISCLAIMER: I didn’t investigate in person, but I have heard that he was riddled with bullets: THIS IS HEARSAY, NOT A LIE, decide for yourself if he was “riddled.” Then last week I saw three people were gunned down at once in Sharpstown. The police have been helpless to do anything, and murders are still way up in Houston, how many so far this year? 70? 60? The mayor’s press conference in early February put the number at that time as 45. That was before the man was found decapitated at a Palace Inn.

    There is still a carnage on the roads. I see crack ups most everyday on Shepherd and Durham between I-10 and 610.

    People dying everywhere, and this police chief Twitters out that you can get arrested if you don’t wear your mask to a store that requires it. What a waste of police resources. This mask nonsense is all political, it is a way for the Democrats to divert attention from their failed policies that are causing excess deaths.

    Meanwhile, this was also the chief in charge of the department that massacred the Tuttles, and the department did not too much about it until the federal government stepped in and charged the responsible detectives.

    The people of Miami are going to be sad that they were promised Tom Brady but instead are getting Ryan Leaf.

    Perhaps I will apply for the police chief job in Houston.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    I wonder how the Cubans in Miami will react to Chief Avocado kneeling in subservience to the black rioters in Miami, as he did here? I’m guessing it won’t go quite as well in Miami.

    I’m just glad he’s leaving, just listening to him makes me sick, and he’s almost as much of a camera hog as another local hog, She-Jack.

    And in case anyone forgot, the Tuttles and their dog are still….dead. I’m assuming their famiies’ payout will be quite a bit more that the payout for a drug addicted criminal loser, right, y’all?

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