Mayor Sylvester Turner signs executive order calling for police restraint, de-escalation and limits on no-knock warrants

Mayor Sylvester Turner signs executive order
Houston City Council members and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo join Mayor Sylvester Turner for signing an executive order codifying best practices for police June 10. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

Houston City Council members and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo join Mayor Sylvester Turner for signing an executive order codifying best practices for police June 10. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)

De-escalation techniques, bans on chokeholds, a duty to intervene and requirements to notify before using deadly force are among new police reforms included in an executive order signed by Mayor Sylvester Turner on June 10.

The reforms, the Houston Police Officer’s Union noted in a recent letter, already fall in line with department policy. The effect of the order, however, codifies them under future chiefs, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

“All the rules read today, regardless of whether they’re existing or new ... cannot be changed by a future chief without coming through the mayor’s office, cannot be changed in the dark, cannot be changed overnight,” Acevedo said.

Each of the reforms states that they must be followed by all Houston police officers unless “objectively necessary,” Turner said.

Also included in the order is a ban on no-knock warrants without written approval from the chief of police or an appointee of the chief as well as a district judge.



Houston City Council members who had been calling for reforms supported the order, saying it was the first of many steps the city needs to make toward increasing community trust in policing.

“This is not something we can do in two weeks. We are talking about systems that have been in place for hundreds of years,” Council Member Tiffany Thomas said.

The order came on the same day Houston City Council voted unanimously to approve the $5.1 billion fiscal year 2020-21 budget, keeping police funding intact, which activists protesting city spending said represents an adherence to the status quo.

Over 90% of the police budget is tied to personnel costs in salaries and benefits, which are negotiated during a separate process between the mayor and the Houston Police Officers Union. The police department contact expires Dec. 31.

Calls for reform have gained national momentum in recent weeks following the death of former Houston resident George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

View the full order below.







By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


MOST RECENT

ExxonMobil moved employees from its Springwoods Village campus to a Hughes Landing to cure a default on a Montgomery County tax abatement. (Courtesy ExxonMobil)
ExxonMobil resolves tax abatement default; Home Depot distribution center taking over superfund site; and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

houston firefighters rally
Appeals court rules in favor Houston firefighters in collective bargaining case

The 14th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the fire union in a case that originated when the city and the union failed to reach an agreement on a labor contract in 2017.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

Rumi's Place will open on Post Oak Boulevard in fall 2022, specializing in Persian food with a contemporary twist. (Courtesy Zadok family)
Persian restaurant Rumi's Place announced for Post Oak mixed-use development in Uptown

The eatery will occupy the last available restaurant space at the newly opened Post Oak Place, alongside Uchiko.

I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop will be closed May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
TxDOT: I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop closed through weekend

From May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m., the lanes will be closed.

Legacy Community Health is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to historically underserved communities across Beaumont and Houston. (Courtesy Pexels)
Legacy Community Health vaccine rollout targets underserved communities in Houston, Beaumont

The health network is partnering with other entities, including Beaumont Independent School District.

HTV
Houston, Harris County annual addresses no longer hosted by Greater Houston Partnership over Texas voter bill dispute

Local leaders criticized the area chamber of commerce for not taking a definitive stance on two voting access bills currently being deliberated in the Texas Legislature.

The new location is Chipotle's first in Magnolia. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle opens in Magnolia; get a sneak peek of new Houston aquarium and more metro news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The Original ChopShop is targeting an early September opening in River Oaks, one of the first two locations of the chain coming to Houston. (Courtesy Facebook)
ROUNDUP: 5 summer openings planned in Heights, River Oaks and Montrose areas

A crafthouse, a massage therapy spa and a corner store that doubles as a Mediterranean cafe are among the new businesses that hope to open this summer.

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member. (Courtesy Fire Smart, LLC)
Fire Smart, LLC celebrates one year of providing fire safety education across Greater Houston area

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member.