MIAMI (WSVN) – The City of Miami has introduced its next Chief of Police.
Houston’s former Chief of Police, Art Acevedo, was formally announced as Miami’s new Chief of Police at Miami City Hall, just after 11 a.m., Monday.
“Our manager, with the help of a commission and with my intervention, brought to Miami the best chief in America,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
Acevedo said there is something the Houston and Miami communities share.
“What I loved about Texas for 14 years is they appreciate straight talk, and what I love about this community is we’re the same,” he said.
Acevedo wrote a letter to city employees announcing that he will take the job in Miami, according to Fox 26 in Houston.
His letter read in part, “After 4 1/2 years of leading the amazing organization and serving our great community, I can say leaving will truly be bittersweet. 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.”
Acevedo served as Houston’s Chief of Police for four and a half years, and according to his biography on the city’s website, he is a proponent of community policing. He calls it relation policing, which forges a relationship with each person a department member comes in contact with.
“Every contact we make may be our first and only contact with a member of this community, and it is the beginning of a relationship,” he said, “so I expect the men and women of the Miami Police Department to conduct themselves in a manner where they make a friend and not a foe.”
Acevedo was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1968 when he was only 4 years old.
He replaces former City of Miami Chief of Police Jorge Colina, who retired in February.
Acevedo said he had opportunities to join the Biden administration or head out to California, but his choice to come to Miami was made with his heart.
“Miami is a city on the move. I mean, look around you,” he said.
“Y’all will quickly come to enjoy his humor and wit. He’s a very personable individual,” said Douglas Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.
Griffith said Acevedo will be missed.
“He’s going to be hands on. He will be out there with you guys,” he said.
He gained national attention when he marched with police reform protesters after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“There’s a lot of pain in this nation, and unless we take the time to feel that pain, to process that pain, acknowledge that pain of communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by bad policing, we will never get beyond the summer of 2020,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo said he believes officers should be held accountable.
“What people need to understand is that our communities are watching us as leaders, not just for what we say and do, but what we fail to say and do,” he said.
But he stressed he is committed to upholding the law.
“Do not confuse kindness for weakness,” Acevedo said. “We believe in social justice. We believe in social reform, but we also believe in the rule of law, and guess what? They’re not mutually exclusive, and you can do both.”
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., has been critical of the Miami Police Department.
“We just have to give [Acevedo] a chance,” she said.
Wilson said she plans on scheduling a meeting with Acevedo and is hopeful he’s the right person for the job.
“Sometimes it’s good to get rid of the old baggage and bring in someone fresh, with a new perspective,” she said.
Acevedo takes office in four to eight weeks.
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