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.
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“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.