Former Houston police Chief Acevedo hired for Austin City Hall job, but city leaders aren't happy

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Former Houston police Chief Art Acevedo hired for new Austin City Hall job, councilmembers express disappointment
Former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is heading to the state capitol for a new position that will oversee the Austin police department.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is heading to the state capital for a new position that oversees the Austin Police Department.

KUT-FM in Austin reported that he will create new recruiting strategies, review patrolling operations, and improve police academy training for APD.

Acevedo served as Austin's chief of police from 2007 to 2016 before becoming Houston's police chief. Since then, he's worked in Miami and Colorado and served as a CNN on-air analyst.

He has been serving as interim police chief for Aurora, a suburb outside Denver, for the last 13 months.

Austin city officials confirmed his new role will begin at the end of the month with a salary of $271,000.

In a memo to council members, interim City Manager Jesús Garza said there are challenges facing the Austin Police Department and that he believes "additional resources are needed to better support the department, our interim police chief, and her management team to ensure success."

Mayor Kirk Watson expressed his support for the decision in an emailed statement. He emphasized that Acevedo's police background can strengthen the relationship between ADP, City Hall, and the community.

However, as KUT reported, the decision was made without community or council input.

On Friday, Council Member Vanessa Fuentes posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, expressing her surprise about Acevedo's appointment.

Council Members Paige Ellis, Alison Alter, and Chito Vela also expressed concerns with Acevedo's sudden hiring.

KUT reported that Ellis felt this was a bad move and a step in the wrong direction. She highlighted the fact that while Acevedo was police chief, hundreds of rape kits went untested.

Alter called it a slap in the face for the survivors, advocates, and others who have worked to make changes in the system around sexual assault.

KUT's reporting in this story comes courtesy of The Texas Tribune.