HOUSTON – Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo joined his officers out on the streets this New Year’s Eve, cracking down on celebratory gunfire and crime.
For the first time, the Houston Police Department is dedicating a team of officers to make sure people aren’t firing shots at the stroke of midnight.
He said the team will start within the confines of the northeast division, which has a few trouble spots.
"I'm hoping that by the time I'm done tomorrow morning, I won't hear about somebody getting killed by gunfire or some other felonious act and I'm hoping someone doesn't get killed in a traffic crash," Acevedo said.
Two years ago, in southeast Houston, the family of Javier Rivera spoke to Channel 2 after he was shot and killed. His family said he went outside at midnight to see the fireworks and all of a sudden, he collapsed.
"Anything that comes up has to come down, and sadly sometimes it comes down striking or injuring a person,” Acevedo said.
He had been hit by a stray bullet.
“As far as I’m concerned if somebody dies or is seriously injured, I will do everything in my power to ensure the district attorney’s office pursues the most aggressive charges,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo said he is working on a plan to increase the number of officers on patrol.
"In the next month or so you're going to see a plan to make sure everybody on this department that is authorized to wear a badge and a gun at some point they'll be doing part of the lifting, because no one is beneath patrolling," Acevedo said.
Celebratory gunfire is a Class A misdemeanor. Violators could face up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine.