Dallas' next police chief?

Posted on 12 Mar 2010 at 1:53pm
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle announced last November that he would be retiring from office, effective at the end of April this year (just a little more than a month away).

City officials have narrowed the field of applicants down to six finalists, announced Monday, March 8, and one of the six is Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Considering the recent controversy over police interaction with LGBT community Fort Worth, and the recent appointment of Officer Laura Martin as full-time LGBT liaison for the Dallas Police Department, I am sure people are wondering about the prospective DPD chiefs’ records on LGBT issues.

This article in today’s Austin American-Statesman, posted online at Statesman.com, doesn’t give any clear answers to that question, but it does perhaps over a tiny bit of insight.

The article focuses mainly on what is described as a rather curt e-mail that Acevedo inadvertently sent to Austin City Councilwoman Laura Morrison regarding APD’s investigation into a recent anti-gay hate crime near a downtown Austin gay bar.

Morrison’s aide had sent an e-mail to a PD employee asking if investigators had gotten the right video surveillance footage of the area, because an earlier e-mail from the PD employee to the aide had, due to a typo, had the wrong date on the footage gathered. Acevedo had responded with an e-mail Morrison characterized as “somewhat dismissive.”

Acevedo said he had not intended the e-mail for Morrison and that he was just telling his employee the confusion had been cleared up and the proper footage obtained when he wrote that “no further action” was necessary.

Morrison — who does credit Acevedo with implementing a number of reforms in the department — said she and Acevedo had disagreed last month over how and when the police department should respond to community concerns over the attack on two gay men. She also noted that Acevedo had declined her invitation to speak at a press conference regarding the attack.

Acevedo said he didn’t attend that press conference because of the timing of the event: It was scheduled for a day that had already been set aside to honor emergency workers who had responded on Feb. 18 after a disgruntled taxpayer flew his airplane into an Austin building housing IRS offices. And, Acevedo pointed out, he was already scheduled to attend an anti-hate rally at City Hall two days after Morrison’s press conference, and that his speech at that rally “drew thunderous applause.”

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