“People of Houston, they don’t want less policing, they want better policing and well-trained police officers,” Chief Art Acevedo told a crowd that included 44 graduating cadets, according to Fox 26 Houston.
As local governments in other parts of the country, like Austin, Texas, have considered cutting budgets and defunding departments to reform police, Acevedo noted Houston’s decision to hire. He wants to implement a new program making it easier for out-of-state officers to take positions on Houston's force.
“I will just say to police officers in Austin, and the good police officers across the country, come to Houston,” Acevedo said.
Houston also approved the hiring and training of roughly 400 future new officers, according to Fox 26.
“We’re excited about the restoration of five classes, while places like Austin are cutting a significant amount of police resources,” Acevedo said. The other Texas city reportedly slashed $150 million from its department.
That total is reportedly about one-third of the city’s current law enforcement budget.
“I think it’s ridiculous when you make decisions that are knee-jerk political decisions that are not based on evidence, not based on research,” Acevedo said. “It ends up impacting the safety of American people in Austin.”
Separately, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city wanted to add at least 600 more officers to its current force of about 5,300.
“People want policing that is sound, accountable and respectful,” he said at a Monday News conference, according to Fox 26. “They want public safety.”
Critics of proposals to defund the police argue they could lead to spikes in crime. And some cities, including New York, which has announced plans to diminish its police budget, already are seeing large increases in shootings.