Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has a message for disgruntled or laid off officers from around the country amid the growing nationwide trend to defund the police: “Come to Houston.”
What are the details?
The police chief told local news outlet KRIV-TV this week that his department is working on a new program to streamline the process for out-of-state officers to come and serve in Houston.
The new program reportedly could consist of a 10-week academy course, instead of the typical course that lasts six months.
“The people of Houston, they don’t want less policing, they want better policing and well-trained police officers,” Acevedo said as his department welcomed 44 new officers this week and look forward to the addition of 400 officers over the next several months.
“We’re excited about the restoration of five classes, while places like Austin [Texas] are cutting a significant amount of police resources,” he continued.
Acevedo was making reference to the Austin City Council’s unanimous vote last week to cut $150 million from the city’s police budget and reinvest the money into various other community programs.
“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,” Acevedo added. “It ends up impacting the safety of American people in Austin.”
Acevedo hopes that Houston’s friendly stance toward police officers will lure the best and brightest to his department.
“I will just say to police officers in Austin and the good police officers across the country — come to Houston,” Acevedo said.
His announcement comes as reports surface in several cities around the country of officers leaving the force or retiring early amid budget cuts and a lack of support from community leaders.
TheBlaze reported Tuesday that officers in San Francisco are leaving the force at a record pace with many of them seeking jobs at different departments in the state and around the country.
Officers in Chicago are reportedly retiring at double the average rate, with 59 retiring in August and 51 more planning to retire in September. The mass exit is likely a result of continued violence in the city coupled with a lack of support for police from the city’s leaders, such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“Who wants to stay in this environment? If you have the ability to leave, there is no incentive to stay anymore,” Fraternal Order of Police Union President John Catanzara said. “The mayor doesn’t back us. If you have the financial ability to do so, I don’t blame a single soul for leaving.”
According to a recent report from the Denver Post, more than 200 officers have either resigned or retired in Colorado since Democratic Gov. Jared Polis enacted sweeping police reforms in mid-June.
Chief Acevedo should keep his phone handy, he may be getting calls soon.