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Chief Acevedo Announces Changes HPD Will Make To Deal With Domestic Violence

Officers who respond to this type of incidents will have to request the presence of a supervisor in situations such as the suspect being at the scene

HPD chief Art Acevedo works at his office in the department's headquarters, located in downtown Houston.
Photo: Kese Smith (HPD)
HPD Chief Art Acevedo has announced changes in the way Houston police officers will deal with domestic violence incidents.

Chief Art Acevedo announced Wednesday changes in the way the Houston Police Department (HPD) deals with incidents of domestic violence.

Acevedo explained at a press conference held at HPD headquarters that a new policy he has established entails that when an officer is in a call that involves domestic violence, the officer will be obligated to request the presence of an on duty supervisor to the scene in certain situations.

Those situations are that the suspect is on scene; that a warrantless arrest is not made for an offense related to family violence; and there is a bodily injury.

Acevedo said he expects the new policy will allow HPD sergeants to better assess the officers' understanding of the law, as it relates to domestic violence, and evaluate how prepared the officer in question is to provide information to the Harris County District Attorney's office.

“This is a great opportunity to take this battle, this war against domestic violence, to the next level,” the chief noted.

Acevedo added he also thinks the new guideline will help the department's supervisors determine whether HPD personnel need more training related to domestic violence and how the existing laws deal with those incidents and crimes.

Acevedo, who underlined HPD officers don’t ask about immigration status, detailed there were 43 domestic violence murders in Houston in 2017.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg explained that, historically, there have been “gaps” related to domestic violence incidents in the county “often because somebody at the scene didn’t want charges filed or because officers weren’t trained or told what evidence to collect” and that has meant that alleged abusers or attackers were not arrested.

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