Art Acevedo to Leave APD for Houston

Tenured police chief expected to formally accept HPD job today

Chief Art Acevedo addressing reporters after Rashad Owens drove through a crowd gathered on Red River Street during SXSW 2014.
Chief Art Acevedo addressing reporters after Rashad Owens drove through a crowd gathered on Red River Street during SXSW 2014. (by John Anderson)

Art Acevedo is apparently out at APD. The tenured police chief, who came to Austin in 2007 after running the California Highway Patrol unit, is headed to Houston, reports the Statesman’s Tony Plohetski. An official announcement is expected from the Bayou City this afternoon.

Acevedo’s decision to accept the H-town gig comes after 10 months of complete turmoil within the Austin Police Department, beginning with Ofc. Geoffrey Freeman’s Feb. 8 fatal shooting of David Joseph. Acevedo took immediate action in the wake of that shooting, meeting with black activists and telling the public that he believed he could have an internal affairs investigation into the shooting completed within 30 days – far fewer days than the standard 180 chiefs usually take to complete internal investigations. The chief’s eagerness to be forthcoming to the community earned him the ire of his union (and departed City Manager Marc Ott), which set off a 10-month standoff that appears to reach its end-point today.

This is not the first time Acevedo’s name has come up as a potential suitor for a chief of police job in another Texas city. In 2010, he was announced as a candidate for the Dallas job, eventually handed to David Brown. In Aug. 2015, he emerged as a finalist for the same job in San Antonio, but decided to stay in Austin after Ott offered him a 5% pay raise and some nice benefits. His name first popped up on the list of candidates to replace departed Houston Chief Charles McClelland in May – not-so-coincidentally, right after he was docked five days pay by Ott for his handling of the Joseph shooting – but denied any active involvement, telling the Chronicle that he had neither applied for the position nor had he contacted HPD about the vacancy.

Check next week’s paper for more on the chief’s departure.

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Art Acevedo, Marc Ott, Charles McLelland, Houston PD, David Joseph, Geoffrey Freeman

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