New HPD police chief, Art Acevedo, has message for Houston upon arrival

HOUSTON – Austin police Chief Art Acevedo was packing up his office at police headquarters on Interstate 35 on Tuesday afternoon.

Of his move to Houston, where he will become the top cop, he said, “I've never met a stranger. And I look forward to proving that to about 2 1/2 million people."

He said he spent his summers in the 1970s in Houston.

Soon he will return to the city whose climate and makeup remind him of his native California.

Acevedo spent 9 1/2 years leading the Austin Police Department.

He told KPRC 2, "When people are calling you Art, you know that you are connecting with them as a leader at a very personal level ... . As a leader. I think once the men and women of the HPD get to know me, they're going to know I'm going to work tirelessly for them."

Pending confirmation by the Houston City Council, he would lead the Police Department in the fourth-largest and fastest-growing city in the country.

"We need to move from community policing to relational policing, which means that every contact you make, it's an opportunity to establish a relationship now," he said. "It's up to us to make it a positive relationship."

He said success in Houston would begin with gaining the trust of his new department as well as the community.

He said he will send a survey to every police officer asking for their options.

He said he will gain involvement in the community by getting involved.

He has been involved in the Boy Scouts of America in Austin.

He said it is a great investment, especially when he looks at the graduation rates of students involved in the program.

Acevedo said he oftentimes patrols the streets and makes arrests. He said he nearly always works New Year’s Eve.

"I will always fight tooth and nail to protect, serve and lead the 99 percent, and to hold accountable and make sure they don't ruin it for the 99 percent, that 1 percent that really have no business being cops," he said.

Acevedo is active on social media.

On Twitter he is @artacevedo.

He said social media is a good way to find out what is happening in real time.

"If you are not monitoring social media as a leader, as an organization, things can spiral out of control very quickly," he said.