HOUSTON – Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is leaving the department for a new job, according to the local police union.
Houston Police Office Union President Doug Griffith confirmed Acevedo has accepted the position to become the next police chief in Miami.
“We appreciate his service to Houston, and wish him the best in Miami,” Griffith said in a statement.
Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner, also had kind words for his long time friend and the man he hired in 2016.
“The only thing that I ask is that while you are here you do an exceptional job, and he has done just that,” Mayor Turner said.
But Turner was somewhat blindsided by the departure, just learning of the Acevedo’s new plans, Sunday, he said.
On Monday, Miami officials held a news conference to introduce Avecedo as the city’s new police chief. During the news conference, several of the leaders who spoke praised Acevedo for his dedication and hard work.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez even called him the “best chief in America.”
“We’re very blessed to have someone in Art who not only has presided over three large departments but is someone who brings a tremendous ability, personality and has the right frame of mind to come in here and make this the best department on the planet.”
Acevedo spoke during the news conference in Miami and said he was not looking for the opportunity, but as a man of faith, he believed that God opened the door for him and it was the time to make a move.
“I love cops. I love good cops ... I am here to tell you that when you do the right thing, I will lose my job before I sell you out,” Acevedo said referring to other officers on the force. “But if you want to be a member of the children of the corn that come to work every day figuring out, ‘How can I abuse somebody? How can I make the good look bad?’ I can tell you, you might as well resign because we will not tolerate mediocrity at the Miami Police Department.”
Acevedo served more than four years as HPD chief, leading more than 5,200 police officers and 1,000 support staff.
“I can say leaving will truly be bittersweet,” Acevedo said in an email to the department. “We have been through so much as an extended family; Hurricane Harvey, two World Series, a Super Bowl, Irma, the summer of protests, and most recently, an ice storm of epic proportion. On top of all of this, sadly we have buried 6 of our fallen heroes. No matter the challenge, you have all risen to the occasion, and you have honored the sacrifices of our fallen comrades with resiliency and sustained excellence.”
Acevedo said he “was not looking for this opportunity when it arose, but with the end of Turner’s final term in office fast approaching, and my strong desire to continue serving as a police officer, we decided the timing for this move was good.”
In the email, Acevedo said executive assistant chiefs Matt Slinkard and Troy Finner “are ready and highly capable” to move the department forward.
The process for hiring, especially someone not already with the department, can take a long time.
“You’d have to have interviews, you’d have to have people apply. That’s a long process it takes six to eight months for that to happen,” Griffith said.
Turner said he planned to make some sort of announcement regarding the Chief position later this week.
Watch the full news conference below: