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A message from Council Member Robert Gallegos

Categories: Community


Council recently confirmed Police Chief Art Acevedo and Fire Chief Sam Peña. This is the first time in the Houston’s history that both public safety chiefs are Hispanic. Both are extremely experienced and I’m confident both will serve our city very well.

Chief Peña comes to Houston from El Paso, where he joined the Fire Department in 1995 after service in the US Air Force. He quickly rose through the ranks and served as training chief in charge of the fire academy, a media spokesman and a paramedic, and had the title of advanced medical coordinator. His experience and talent will be a great asset to Houston.

Chief Acevedo previously served as Chief of Police in Austin for 10 years. In addition to his impressive credentials, he is representative of the diverse community the Houston Police Department serves. As the child of Cuban immigrants, he is in a unique position to understand, empathize, protect and serve Houston’s diverse population.

Prior to their confirmation, I had the opportunity to speak at great length with both Chiefs and am impressed by their experience and eagerness to get to work.

Finally, I want to thank Interim Chief Martha Montalvo – who served our city well in her 9 months as interim. She has been an effective leader throughout her 35-year career with HPD. Born in Ecuador and raised in Houston’s East End, Montalvo earned the trust and respect of the community as she worked her way up through the ranks. As our City’s first Hispanic police chief and second female chief, she motivated our diverse community and inspired young women. She has been instrumental in developing and encouraging diversity of ethnicity, race, gender and background in our police force. We owe her a debt of gratitude.


Robert Gallegos
Houston Council Member
District I

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