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Houston City Councilwoman proposes major changes to Houston police as calls for defunding police grow nationwide

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner explained what Houstonians were asking his administration to do in the days since police brutality in the city and country has come under the spotlight.

“To invest in these communities where you don’t feel like the only option is to police and incarcerate people coming from these communities, that’s what they are wanting," he explained.

Mayor Turner’s comments come at a time when police departments nationwide are being scrutinized for their funding and how funds are utilized. Councilwoman Letitia Plummer is one of those calling for change.

“A lot of people think that we are defunding the police department and that is absolutely not what we are doing,” Plummer said.

She said the push is to not dilute the number of cops on the streets, “These are not positions that would be held by a police officer. These are positions that have been open between six months and three years.”

Plummer believes in moving dormant funds to bolster officer training as well as youth programs with one of them being the city’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, Our youth is literally the beginning from where it all happens. If we can save them from early on, we can prevent them from getting into the system,” said Plummer.

Not only has Mayor Turner been hearing the calls but he also understands them, “They want make sure that we emphasize the importance of de-escalation, training, crisis intervention, those sort of things.”

Channel 2 Investigates did reach out to HPD Chief Art Acevedo but he was unavailable for comment as the department prepared for Floyd’s public viewing and funeral.

Joe Gamaldi, president of HPD’s Union did not comment, only stating that he is waiting to see how the budget process plays out on Wednesday at City Hall.