As public input for Manley ends, some are hoping for nationwide APD Chief search

Austin's month-long bombing nightmare put Interim Police Chief Brian Manley into the national spotlight.  His leadership was applauded.  And Council Members like Delia Garza encouraged new City Manager Spencer Cronk to look no further for Austin's next chief.

A month ago, Cronk asked for public input on vetting Manley and only Manley for the job.

"I could decide to move forward with a national search today or I could do it after this engagement period.  After hearing from the community it was overwhelmingly 'let's vet who we have now and if we need to go to a national search let's do it then,'" Cronk said last month.

That engagement period is over now.  So the next move is Cronk's.

"Brian Manley is a good cop.  But in the past when we had chiefs retire, there's a process," said Gus Peña with Veterans For Progress.

Peña is demanding a nationwide search -- opening the pool of candidates up to more than just Brian Manley.

"We have some problems out here and he aint getting the job done and the citizens are very concerned," Peña said.   

Peña says some bad officers need to be weeded out.

"I know he hasn't done a good job of that.  You've got to have a good director, supervisor, chief whatever...that's going to man up," Peña said.  

"In this situation there wasn't any recruitment of anyone that was diverse.  It didn't seem like there was any recruitment of women," said Fatima Mann, co-founder of Austin Justice Coalition.

Mann says Manley is a good man, he listens to the community.  But she's hoping Cronk will decide to look at other candidates.  Because if Austin is going to be on the forefront of changing racial relations, that means looking at new blood.  And someone that could take the department to the place it can be.

"Once again, not saying that Chief Manley isn't capable of that but saying that there may be others that are more capable of that...or more qualified to do the things that Austin is needing," Mann said.  

"To re-set this whole process is expensive.  I'm not even sure that you can better the process.  We just got dealt a certain hand, based on situations here...the bombing.  Now we've got to deal with this," Said Nelson Linder, President of the Austin Chapter of the NAACP.    

Linder points out, we're halfway through 2018 -- we need a police chief.  He doesn't see any benefit of doing a national search now.  He says that was needed a year ago.

"You've got a city council that jumped out front after the bombing and essentially anointed Brian Manley.  What kind of City Manager is going to say 'you know what?  In spite of that, I want my own decision to go forward.'  It's a real difficult issue politically," Linder said.

Linder says Manley would be a very good police chief.  He knows the city well.

"I think he has integrity and I think he'd do the best possible job available.  And I think his team around him is probably more impressive than he is!  But he's the leader so he gets credit as well," Linder said.

The City of Austin says the next step is to review the comments received through public meetings, e-mail and 3-1-1 about Manley throughout the engagement process and then the City Manager will make the call.