HPD Chief Acevedo: Community should be made clear of staffing shortage, budget issues

EMBED </>More Videos

EXCLUSIVE: HPD Chief Acevedo talks about addressing a staffing shortage with little money (KTRK)

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo has been clear. Houston does not have enough police officers. He says the city needs more.

The question is, how do you pay for it with a budget he says is already bare bones?

At a press conference last week meant to focus on crime statistics, Acevedo dipped into a discussion about what he called an unsustainable staffing shortage, and he intimated it would take more money to fix it.

We wanted to know more about it, so we sat down with him to ask him directly.

"I think investing in public safety is investing in a lot of things for our city," he said in an interview in his office. "But, see, the problem for me is that my job is to sound the alarm. My job is to provide the data as to where we've been, where we're at, where we're going. How we get there is going to be up to elected officials. Ultimately, it's going to be up to constituents. Our constituents. In order for us to get there we have to be honest about the challenges."

Acevedo told us he's using data-driven efficiencies to better police a growing city. His officers are working smarter, but it is not enough. Somehow the city has to figure out a way to fund additional men and women in blue.

"I really believe that if we take the time to educate this community, we'll all come together to figure it out," Acevedo said.

He was not clear about how the city will make that happen other than saying he hopes there is movement on the issue this year.

"What does funding those extra classes or finding those extra officers - whether they're regular or expedited classes - what does that look like?" we asked.

"I think that's a chapter that hasn't been written yet and I think that's yet to be determined, right?" he said.

And maybe the writing begins this week. Tuesday afternoon, the Houston Police Officers Union announced a press conference Wednesday to discuss staffing. Both the chief and Mayor Sylvester are scheduled to attend.

Follow Tom Abrahams on Twitter and Facebook.
Related Topics:
houston police departmentpolice chiefbudgetHouston
(Copyright ©2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)