Houston Matters

HPD Chief Art Acevedo: Bail System Needs More Checks And Balances

If a defendant is to be released without having to pay bail, Acevedo says risk assessments need to be conducted on whether they have a history of violent crime.

 

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo during his visit to Houston Public Media on Sept. 23, 2019.

Harris County is still waiting for a final settlement on its troubled cash bail system. While District Attorney Kim Ogg has objected to the proposal, Houston’s Police Chief Art Acevedo says the bail system needs more checks and balances.

Speaking on Monday’s edition of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, Acevedo said when it comes to bail reform, it’s important to do a risk assessment on whether the person in question has a history of violent crime. But, if the person is not involved in violent behavior or committed crimes against other people, he’s okay with releasing them if they promise to show up on their court date. 

“We have to make better informed decisions and decisions that are based on risk to the public and not on anything but that,” he said.

Acevedo added that limited resources like jail space have to be considered too.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that Harris County’s cash bail system was unconstitutional because too many defendants stayed in jail pending trial simply because they couldn’t afford to pay bail.

In the audio above, Acevedo answers listener questions about law enforcement in Greater Houston and discusses issues from the emergency response to recent flooding, to how crime rates (and the perception thereof) is being used in the mayoral race, and what happened when he recently arrested a speeder on his way home from work.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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