AUSTIN, Texas - Interim Chief Joseph Chacon will be the next chief of the Austin Police Department.
Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has officially announced that Chacon, who has been the interim police chief since March, will take on the role permanently.
"I want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped us reach this important decision for our community," said City Manager Cronk in a news release. "After hearing from so many of you, and following an extensive and rigorous recruitment process, I’m confident Interim Chief Joseph Chacon is the right person to lead our City’s police department to achieve results, build trust and transparency, and accomplish equitable public safety outcomes for all Austin residents and visitors."
Chacon's appointment is subject to confirmation by Austin City Council. An item will be placed on the council's September 30 agenda.
"I am extremely excited and humbled by this amazing opportunity," said Interim Chief Chacon. "Austin PD is at a critical juncture, and I am honored that the City Manager is showing the trust in me to lead this amazing organization. I will be engaging our department employees and our community to make sure we are moving forward in the best way possible."
WHAT HAS BEEN THE REACTION TO THE DECISION TO CHOOSE CHACON?
The Greater Austin Crime Commission President Corby Jastrow released a statement in response to the news of Chacon's selection saying he "commends" Cronk on the selection and calling Chacon "the police chief Austin needs now. He has earned the respect of the community and will lead the department through the challenges ahead. Austin can count on Chief Chacon to focus on rising crime and a patrol staffing crisis while advancing reform."
Ken Casaday with the Austin Police Association however called the selection of Chacon a "disappointment" in a news release saying, "City Council did not seize the opportunity for change that officers and the community were ready and willing to bring about. We remain committed to doing all that we can to make the Austin Police Department one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the United States yet again, despite the uphill battle with leadership we may face."
The Austin Police Association's full statement is as follows:
"Today Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced that he has selected Interim Chief Joseph "Joe" Chacon as the permanent chief for the Austin Police Department. A selection we fully expect to be approved by Austin City Council at the September 30th meeting."
"The APA has spoken with Chief Chacon at length and on numerous occasions about our concerns for where the department stands and the lack of leadership. During his tenure thus far, we have experienced an unprecedented staffing crisis, a rise in violent crime, and a plummet in officer morale all with no clear vision on how to address these issues. We respect the process which selected Chief Chacon, but our concerns that these issues will only get worse under his tenure remain very real."
"While the Austin Police Association certainly respects and admires the years of service and working knowledge Chief Chacon has of our department, the road ahead is not an easy one."
"Over the past several weeks members from the APA have had countless meetings with City Officials including members of council and the city manager where we made clear our high hopes for the department if Chief Emada Tingirides were to be named the next Police Chief. Officers looked forward to having an outside perspective and a renewed vision for our department from a strong female leader who has seen struggle first-hand in some of the most trying environments and overcame those challenges. She has a proven track record of engaging the community to accomplish a
measurable decline in violent crime — something Austin is seeing on the rise."
"The Austin Police Association is disappointed that with this selection; City Council did not seize the opportunity for change that officers and the community were ready and willing to bring about. We remain committed to doing all that we can to make the Austin Police Department one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the United States yet again, despite the uphill battle with leadership we may face."
TIMELINE OF SEARCH FOR NEXT CHIEF
In May, the City of Austin held a series of virtual community meetings and asked members of the public to give feedback on who they wanted to be the next chief.
The following month, in June, FOX 7 Austin obtained application information through an open records request that 45 people had applied for the job.
The other two candidates besides Chacon were Avery L. Moore, Assistant Chief with the Dallas Police Department, and Emada E. Tingirides, Deputy Chief with the Los Angeles Police Department.
WHO IS JOSEPH CHACON?
Chacon was unanimously confirmed by Austin City Council in March to be the interim police chief after serving as Assistant Chief of Police for more than four years overseeing Patrol, Special Operations, Specialized Patrol, Investigations, Intelligence, Professional Standards, and Training/Recruiting.
He has been with APD for more than 20 years.
Chacon became interim police chief after the retirement of former Chief Brian Manley.
He is the former director of the Austin Regional Intelligence Center and has served on the Major Cities Chief’s Association (MCCA) Intelligence Commander’s Group, as well as the executive board of the National Fusion Center Association. He has also served on the Travis County Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Advisory Committee.
Chacon volunteers with the Miracle League of Austin, an adaptive Little League baseball organization, and with Special Olympics Texas. He is on the International Association of Chiefs of Police Torch Run Committee, an anchor organization committed to the Special Olympics.
Chacon is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington School of Urban and Public Affairs, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He received his Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX.
He is a graduate of PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police, Texas State University’s Certified Public Manager Program, and MCCA’s Police Executive Leadership Institute.
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