In an announcement late last week that shocked most city hall observers, former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo appears to be returning to the town where he made his name.
In a memo released to the mayor and city council, Interim City Manager Jesus Garza announced he was creating a new assistant city manager position to help oversee and advise the police department.
Garza said in the memo:
It is essential to have a City Management-level resource identified who is dedicated solely to APD. To that end, I am adding an Interim Assistant City Manager position who will report directly to me.
I am pleased to announce that former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, known to many here in the City as well as the community from his tenure as Police Chief for nearly 10 years, will be serving in this position.
Acevedo, who previously served as police chief from 2007 to 2016, oversaw a scandal-plagued tenure and was widely loathed by the time he left office. A limited sampling of his “highlights” shows:
- A crime lab that became a national embarrassment when it was revealed that it took years to test rape kits, if they were ever tested at all.
- Claiming that sexual assault survivors would be better served by after the fact “counseling” than by using firearms to prevent the assault from happening in the first place.
- Attending press conferences with groups linked to Pakistani jihadists.
- Being forced to apologize for comments he made about sexual assault after the controversial arrest of a female jogger on a jaywalking charge.
Since he left Austin, Acevedo went onto similar positions in Houston, Miami, and Aurora, CO. In every city, he engendered similar controversies.
Acevedo’s hiring has prompted opposition from several members of the city council.
“I cannot support the hiring of Art Acevedo. There are too many red flags from his previous tenures as police chief, both here and in the other cities he’s served,” posted City Councilmember Chico Vela III on X.
“I was very surprised by this news and share many of the concerns expressed throughout the community,” posted City Councilmember Ryan Atler. “I want to do everything I can to make our police department the best in the nation, and I am still trying to understand how this hire at this time does that.”
“I am shocked by this decision, as Acevedo oversaw a department that caused rape kits to go untested for years and entrapped protestors, among other issues. I told Jesus Garza this is a bad call, and I guarantee that if it had come before council it would have a different outcome,” posted City Councilmember Paige Ellis.
City Councilmember Alison Alter released the following statement:
Statement on the appointment of Art Acevedo: pic.twitter.com/E5ccIEh7ff
— Council Member Alison Alter (@ALTERforATX) January 19, 2024
“I do consider the hire unacceptable and I am not in favor of it,” posted City Councilmember Zohaib “Zo” Qadri.
By contrast, only one council member has publicly endorsed the hire.
Concerned Austinites may contact their council member.