HOUSTON - Houston’s new police chief Art Acevedo promised to hit the ground running.
He spent his first full day on the job doing just that.
One of the first orders of business? Qualifying at the Houston police academy gun range to be ready to hit the streets.
Acevedo said he plans to personally go out on patrol at times, including New Year’s Eve, to “never forget what policing is about.”
"I plan on working my tush off for these men and women," Acevedo said. "Sometimes they're going to love me, sometimes they're going to be mad at me, but they'll always know that I care."
That personal level of care was evident at the training academy where the new chief popped into a cadet class to rally the troops and also held an impromptu meeting with a group of veteran officers.
"All I expect of you is to do the right thing,” Acevedo told the group. “If you do the right thing, I will lose my job before I sell you out, but that's a two-way street.”
His directive is clear: Do the job with honor and integrity. There's no tolerance for anything less.
“I love cops. I'm their biggest cheerleader, but when they dishonor this badge, when they dishonor this patch, I ain’t got no use for them, and I'll never apologize for that,” he said.
As hardline as he can be, Acevedo said leading a police department is like family. Leaving his Austin police family of 10 years, where he also served as chief, is bittersweet.
"Gosh, why do you have to bring this up?” Acevedo said, holding back tears. “I love my cops, and I can't talk about them. Sorry, it just breaks my heart to leave them.”
His message to Houston officers: Treat Houstonians like family, too.
(© 2016 KHOU)