Inducted June 2014
Nominated by Geoff Alpert, University of South Carolina
Art Acevedo has served as Chief of the Austin (TX) Police Department since 2007. He leads a department of 2,400 sworn law enforcement and support personnel who carry out police operations within the City of Austin, as well as the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, city parks and lakes, and municipal courts. Born in Cuba, Acevedo migrated to the United States with his family in 1968. He grew up in California and earned his Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Public Administration from the University of La Verne in California. Acevedo began his career in law enforcement as field patrol officer in East Los Angeles with the California Highway Patrol in 1986. He was subsequently promoted through various positions of increasing responsibility to Chief, California Highway Patrol, in 2005. He holds various leadership positions with the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is married to Tanya Born Acevedo and is the father of Melissa, Matthew, and Jake.
Evidence-Based Research and Practice:
Chief Acevedo has had a long history of implementing and using research to help him guide his department. Professor Alpert remarked on his commitment to prioritize better decision making for officer safety through the use of scientific evidence. In particular, he has partnered with scholars at Texas A&M University to help the department analyze use of force data, which resulted in modifications to APD’s policy and training. He has also supported a rigorous evaluation of police lineups, as well as re-engineered his agency’s approach to CompStat allowing for more efficient, effective, and intelligence-based policing based on research they conducted in-house. Most recently, Chief Acevedo has agreed to participate in an experimental study of officer-involved collisions, funded by the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Justice. This study involved several major police agencies in the United States and requires a significant amount of data from each agency to determine its crash and injury rate. During a discussion of the data requirements, rather than minimize his agency’s efforts, he volunteered to become more involved in the research by having his officers surveyed and provided more information on his vehicle fleet and driving history than required by the grant.
It is because of Chief Acevedo’s leadership that the APD has been reengineered into a data driven and intelligence-led policing organization that uses science to help develop important policies. Professor Alpert also notes that Chief Acevedo believes in the importance of good communication for a successful community, and that he has steadily worked to strengthen the bond between the people of Austin and their police department. He has forged partnerships with elected officials, diverse community organizations, youth groups, the district attorney, the defense bar, and the media.
Statement from Chief Acevedo:
As the Chief of the Austin Police Department, I have dedicated myself and my agency to the principals of Evidence Based and Intelligence Led Policing. Current economic conditions highlight the need that every dollar allocated to public safety be used in the most effective manner possible. This requires police leaders to engage not only their citizens and community leaders, but also leaders and institutions within academia in problem identification and mitigation. It is through this collaboration that our communities can enjoy the highest level of safety and quality of living.
In addition to APD’s Evidence Based and Intelligence Led accomplishments in the areas of CompStat and sequential lineups, the Department also worked with our regional law enforcement partners to create the Austin Regional Intelligence Center. This center brings together 16 agencies to analyze information and disseminate actionable intelligence directed at criminal or terror based offenses throughout the Austin region. This collaborative effort increases public safety beyond the geographic borders of Austin and provides intelligence based solutions for the Central Texas Region.
I also worked in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin to secure a federal grant to restore one of Austin’s most longstanding crime impacted neighborhoods. Our approach to this project is not one of simply putting cops on dots, but instead working with researchers to identify the root cause(s) of crime and then to apply the appropriate solutions based on the research findings. Implementation of these evidence based findings will reduce crime, improve the quality of life, and restore a sense of community to this neighborhood.
Our current partnership with Dr. Geoff Alpert and the University of South Carolina will likely be one of the most beneficial we have engaged in since it focuses on law enforcement’s most important resource, the men and women who serve as police officers across our country. We lose more of these brave men and women to car crashes each year than acts of violence. This project will produce data driven findings that will identify any needed improvements to policies, training, and equipment; therefore improving the safety of officers across our country and abroad.
I am honored by my induction to the Evidence Based Policing Hall of Fame and remain committed to continual improvement in intelligence led policing through partnerships with academia and the application of scientific theory to modern policing.