Hats off to police chief Art Acevedo who has decided to add 400 more police officers instead of getting rid of them like other cities.
The police chief is quoted saying “‘People of Houston, they don’t want less policing, they want better policing and well-trained police officers,”
The police chief even said “Come to Houston” to officers in other cities who were laid off due to their department defunded.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is calling for officers who lose their jobs to department defunding to join the Houston Police Department. https://t.co/FF3VLZp4ro
— FOX26Houston (@FOX26Houston) August 17, 2020
While the City of Austin cuts their police budget by $150M, Houston is boosting funding, and the department's hiring 400 diverse cops. Houston Police Union President @JoeGamaldi, says city leaders are listening to law-abiding citizens, rather than the mob.https://t.co/ShQn8XO43h
— Fox & Friends First (@FoxFriendsFirst) August 14, 2020
Proud to live in @HoustonTX where we have a Mayor, City Council, and community committed to better policing and safety and security for all.
Former chief Art Acevedo says there will be consequences from Austin Police funding cut https://t.co/oceMY33uxP
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) August 14, 2020
Fox 26 News had this to say about Houston’s plan to add an additional 400 officers:
HOUSTON – The Houston Police Department welcomed 44 new officers to their force on Monday during the Cadet Class #245 graduation ceremony.
“People of Houston, they don’t want less policing, they want better policing and well-trained police officers,” said HPD Chief Art Acevedo.
Recently, Houston officials approved 5 new academy classes that will add roughly 400 new future HPD officers to the city’s police department.
“We’re excited about the restoration of 5 classes, while places like Austin are cutting a significant amount of police resources.”
Last week, the Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut roughly $150 million from Austin’s Police Department, roughly a third of their budget.
“I think it’s ridiculous when you make decisions that are knee-jerk political decisions that are not based on evidence, not based on research,” said Chief Acevedo. “It ends up impacting the safety of American people in Austin.”
In a press conference Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner responded to questions regarding HPD’s future budget.
“People want policing that is sound, accountable, and respectful,” said Mayor Turner. “They want public safety. In this city we have about 5,300 police officers, and we’ve always said that we need at least 600 more.”
While several cities across the United States have voted to de-fund their police departments, Chief Acevedo has a message for experienced and qualified officers.
“I will just say to police officers in Austin, and the good police officers across the country, come to Houston,” said Chief Acevedo.
Chief Acevedo tells us they’re working on a new program that would make it easier for qualified out-of-state police officers to transfer and serve in Houston. This program could involve a 10-week academy course, instead of 6 months.
ABC 13 News reported this about Houston’s move to add more officers instead of defund their department:
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — As nationwide calls for defunding law enforcement grow in the wake of historic protests against police brutality, Houston officials increased their spending on police Wednesday.
But Dallas and Austin officials appear supportive of pulling money from their police department budgets and reallocating that money toward community investments.
The Houston City Council increased its police budget Wednesday from $945 million last year to $964 million for the upcoming fiscal year. That came after the failure of council member Letitia Plummer’s amendment that aimed to redistribute some of the money to other areas, including mental health programs and loans for businesses owned by people of color. Wednesday’s vote came after Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that he will be launching a task force focusing on police accountability and transparency.
“We started the conversation on police reform. Not one of my amendments passed but I know that I stand on the right side of history,” Plummer said on Twitter. “That is the most important take away. I answer to the people who elected me. I will be holding the task force accountable.”
Bill Kelly, director of government relations for Turner, said that the increase in police funding was mainly related to “fixed costs,” including pensions and pending pay rises. He also added that part of the police funding goes to its already existing mental health program, which includes outreach teams and training for officers.
“Houston has invested a considerable amount in better service for our population that has had to turn to law enforcement for public health crisis,” King said in an email.
Calls for defunding the police often refer to cutting funding for police departments and spending the money on social services. And on Wednesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo was in Washington, D.C., where he told federal lawmakers that cutting police budgets is not the best solution to ending police brutality.
“Some think defunding the police is the answer. I’m here to tell you on behalf of our mayor and other mayors across the country and police chiefs across the country and the diverse communities that we serve, this is simply not the answer,” he told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
It’s great to see someone truly believes defunding the police is not the answer to crime in America. Police chief Acevedo said it best it’s not about having less policing but it’s about having better policing.
Hopefully, more states and cities will not bow down to political pressure to defund their police departments.