HOUSTON - As America wrestles with the plague of racial injustice, the voice of Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has been one of conciliation.
Acevedo told FOX 26 he is not opposed to the establishment of civilian review boards with subpoena power to oversee complaints against police.
‘You know I’m not afraid of that, but just keep in mind as long as I, as the Police Chief, can still make my decisions. Because what people don’t realize is that a lot of time these civilian panels are actually softer and more forgiving on these police officers than the police chief would be, so it’s a double-edged sword. We have to thoughtful about it,” said Acevedo.
Nearly a year and a half after the disastrous Hardy Street, Acevedo says HPD’s near-total moratorium on “no-knock” warrants since should become the law of the land and a significant response to the call for reform.
“We had never had a bad experience with no-knock warrants. We have done several thousand over the years without any major mishaps, but I didn’t wait on the second one to go wrong. We are going to err on the side of public safety and yes we think that should be a national standard” said Acevedo.
As to the unsettling days following the death of George Floyd, Acevedo now sees his frontline role commiserating with angry marchers and compelling peaceful protest as personally transformative experience.
“That’s just the way I’m wired. Leadership is in the front. Relationship building is the front. There is a lot of anger in the country. We had nothing to do with Minneapolis, but you know we have had our own incidents and our own issues over the years. It’s important to make yourself available and it was important to hear and see with my own eyes the pain especially in our own Black community, African American community. It’s real. I’m glad I did it because I actually shed tears with strangers that I think has changed me as a person,” said Acevedo.
What remains to be seen is whether America’s 800,000 police are prepared to change with him.