Houston police Chief Art Acevedo is leaving his helm to lead the Miami Police Department after holding the position for five years, he announced at a press conference.
“With the end of Mayor [Sylvester] Turner’s final term in office fast approaching and my strong desire to continue serving as a police officer, we decided that the timing for this move was good,” Acevedo said in an email obtained by the Houston Chronicle. The police chief is appointed by the mayor. Turner, who was reelected in 2019, is term limited.
Turner announced Thursday that Troy Finner, the HPD executive assistant chief, will succeed Acevedo as police chief. Finner, who has been with HPD since 1990, will begin April 5. Turner said in a statement that he has asked Finner to focus on bridging trust and communication gaps between Houstonians and the police department.
Acevedo will be the third major police chief in Texas to depart after a year marked by protests against police violence. Last month, Austin police Chief Brian Manley said he is retiring after 30 years with the department. Manley faced harsh criticism, largely spurred by the police killing of an unarmed man last year and how the department handled summer protests over police brutality.
Dallas police Chief Reneé Hall resigned in September after scrutiny over the Dallas Police Department’s response to protests against police brutality following George Floyd’s killing in 2020.
Acevedo was one of the first big-city police chiefs in Texas to speak out against the killing of Floyd. He marched with protesters in Houston, saying, “We will march as a department with everybody in this community.” However, Acevedo also received local backlash for refusing to release body camera footage from several deadly shootings in Houston.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told the Miami Herald that “this is like getting the Tom Brady or the Michael Jordan of police chiefs.”
Acevedo will lead a force of nearly 1,400 officers in Miami, compared with Houston’s force of over 5,200 officers. He will replace former Miami police Chief Jorge Colina, who retired in February.
“We have been through so much as an extended family,” Acevedo said in the email. “Hurricane Harvey, two World Series, a Super Bowl, (Imelda), the summer of protest, and most recently, an ice storm of epic proportion. On top of all this, we have sadly buried six of our fallen heroes.”
Turner said in a press conference Monday that Acevedo will stay in Houston for a few more weeks as the police department makes the transition.
“Acevedo has been a champion of policing and a transformational leader while commanding the department of roughly 5,300 officers and hundreds of civilian support personnel in the nation’s fourth-largest city,” Turner said. “There is no question in my mind Art was the right person at the right time for the circumstances that we had to deal with.”