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'My work speaks for itself': Art Acevedo addresses his past, discusses his plans for Aurora's future

art acevedo aurora interim police chief
Posted at 5:43 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 19:43:28-05

For the first time, Art Acevedo, Aurora's new interim police chief, is sitting down one-on-one to answer questions about his own controversial past and his plans for Aurora's future.

He takes over a struggling department after a contentious search, but said he accepted the job because he still loves policing.

"This has been my life's work. I'm an immigrant, raised to be a patriot. I've dedicated my adult life to policing," said Acevedo, who will be the first bilingual chief to lead the city. "I think that when you're a first, whether you're a first Latina or you're first woman or you're first whatever, and you break that ceiling, your job is to make sure you perform your duties in a manner where there'll be a second."

RELATED: Art Acevedo sworn in as interim Aurora police chief

Still, Acevedo has not shied away from controversy. When he was Austin's police chief, he made frequent appearances on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' show.

"Listen, I've always said when some chiefs run away from activists, I run towards them," he said. "As a police chief, I have to reach to everyone, regardless of what their mindsets are. Now today, with everything that this guy's done, I'm not sure that I would probably visit him today because he's gone from the deep end into the abyss."

In 2021, he was fired as Miami police chief after six months on the job, which he has called retaliation.

"They told me I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, they wanted reform. And they lied to me," said Acevedo.

He said his only regret was taking the job in the first place.

"I have mixed feelings on that because I think that, you know, there's an open criminal case. Not against me, but against officials," Acevedo continued.

RELATED: Aurora looking to hire Art Acevedo as interim police chief

Acevedo is taking over a struggling police department that is under a consent decree requiring reform. As the city's first bilingual police chief, the Cuban American said he will build bridges with the community.

"Look, what needs to change is just that we've got to continue to evolve," said Acevedo. "My work speaks for itself. Have I been perfect? No. But have I been pretty good? I would say yes. And you know why I have so many haters out there? Because I've always stood for what I thought was the right thing. Quite honestly, the left thinks, the extreme left thinks I'm a big fascist. The extreme right thinks I'm a communist-socialist. And I'm Cuban, so those are fighting words. And so when both extremes hate you, you know what that tells me as a public servant? I'm in a pretty good spot."

While Acevedo said he is "all about" criminal justice reform, he also said victims should come first.

"We go from one extreme to the other. I'm all about criminal justice reform, but criminal justice starts with victims. Then we look at how we can help people rehabilitate people. We're a little bit out of whack right now in this nation, and I think that we just have to have leaders that are willing to speak truth to power," he said.

Acevedo said he will be hitting an organizational pause button while the department hammers out its priorities.

"And so we're going to organize, we're going to prioritize, and then we're going to build relationships," said Acevedo. "Our cops are going to be focused on one thing, and they are focused on one thing, and that's bringing bad actors into custody and keeping people safe."

Most importantly, he said he will "lead out front." In fact, Friday night, he said he was going out on patrol in a patrol unit, warning don't speed or you might be pulled over by Aurora's new interim police chief.