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HOUSTON POLICE DEPT'S RAINBOW CRUISER RAISES EYEBROWS FOR PRIDE PARADE

Houston Police Department’s rainbow cruiser raises eyebrows but ready to go for Pride Parade

Houston Chronicle ^ | 6-23-2017 | St. John Barned-Smith


If Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has anything to say about it, his officers will shine at the head of the city's Pride Parade.

The department's new "Pride Car" is ready to go. It's gassed up. Rainbow decals gleam from every side, saluting Houston's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Acevedo plans to be front and center Saturday and he's strongly encouraged his top leadership to join him in the march.

"By actually participating ... we send a very powerful message that we're an inclusive department," he said, "where every segment of society is welcome, is respected, and will be protected by the Houston Police Department."

But not everyone is ready to join the parade. The prospect of marching in the free-spirited gay-rights celebration has some members of his leadership crying foul, and pictures of the festive cruiser sparked contentious debate on social media from nonplussed naysayers.

"Our duty is to protect and serve, not participate in an event that completely goes against our religious beliefs," said one commander, who asked not to be identified.

The behind-the-scenes brouhaha comes as Acevedo — who just celebrated six months as the city's top cop — continues his efforts to remake the department and bring it in line with his ethos for "relational policing."

He's made it clear he expects his command staff to maintain a visible presence at major community events.

When asked about the complaints Friday, Acevedo said he hadn't received any push back from subordinates, only a call from the union asking if attendance was mandatory.

"If people are available, like any other community event, I expect them to be there," he said. "If they're not available, and they have a conflict, they just have to let me know."
 

HOUSTON POLICE DEPT'S RAINBOW CRUISER RAISES EYEBROWS FOR PRIDE PARADE






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