Art Acevedo, the charismatic and at times scrutinized police chief of Houston, is heading to Miami.
Acevedo is taking over the Miami Police Department, replacing 30-year police veteran Jorge Colina who stepped down earlier this year. By comparison, the Miami PD is a smaller department compared to Houston as Acevedo is leaving over 5,000 officers in the nation’s fourth-largest city, to a department one-fourth of the size.
A replacement for Acevedo should be announced later this week.
“We have been through so much as an extended family,” he wrote in an e-mail to officers. “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.”
He added, “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.”
On getting Acevedo, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told the Miami Herald, “This is like getting the Tom Brady or the Michael Jordan of police chiefs.”
Before arriving in Houston, Acevedo served as chief of police in Austin, leading a department of 2,400 officers. When he was named police chief in 2016, he replaced Charles A. McClelland who had served 40 years in the department from officer to ultimately top cop.
Acevedo became a national star in the past few years, both with his assistance in handling natural disasters, lax policing for officers in terms of letting them wear short-sleeved shirts, facial hair, shorts and tattoos and kneeling with protesters over the summer of 2020. He became critical of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican leadership in the state, leading numerous pundits to question if he was running for political office once day. He often denied those claims.
His most controversial moment as the head of HPD came in 2019 after a no-knock raid on a house in South Houston leading to the death of a couple inside. A probe into the incident discovered the lead officer lied on a search warrant application about obtaining drugs from the home. Two officers are charged with murder in the case and a dozen other officers have been charged with assorted crimes related to the raid.