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Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle reported that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) tapped 36-year HPD veteran Martha Montalvo to lead the department while his team is conducting a nationwide search for a new permanent chief.


Montalvo, 56, has served as chief of staff to outgoing HPD Chief Charles McClelland & has held the rank of Executive Assistant Chief since 2004, the first Latina to serve in that capacity in HPD history. On Thursday, she became the department's first Latina chief.


"Chief Montalvo has a wealth of experience that will serve the department & the citizens of Houston well," said Turner. "She also understands that all city departments will need to share the sacrifice in balancing the budget for the coming fiscal year. I look forward to working with her on solutions that will generate the cost savings we need without impacting the police protections our citizens deserve," Turner added.


Houston must close a projected $126 million budget deficit by July, though Turner has pledged not to lay off any police officers. Budget hearings begin in May.


Montalvo said the announcement was an emotional moment for her, recognizing that she has become the department's first Latina chief in the department's history. "The message I want to get across is that the opportunities exist if you work hard, & just don't give up," she said. "It's possible. The department in 35 years has changed quite a lot, & I'm an example of that."




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