Joseph Chacon confirmed as Austin's new police chief

After hours of questioning from council members, the Austin City Council has officially confirmed Joseph Chacon as Austin's new police chief.

The council worked late into Thursday evening, asking Chacon questions about how he will handle many aspects of policing, including recruiting and training.

The Capital chapter of LULAC said they support Chacon.

"It is very important in a community where the population of Latinos is very high, that we have someone at the helm who will be able to communicate with our immigrant community," said Gavino Fernandez, with LULAC, District 12.

Fernandez said he is a former city employee, and appreciates the fact that the city manager made an internal hire.

"To know that this city manager recognizes experience and value in city employees is very important," said Fernandez.

Other Latino activists in the community remain slightly hesitant about the city's choice, but still support him.

"We needed a chief that had more gumption, savvy and comes in and knows what the problems are so I endorse Chacon. We want somebody who will come out to the community, not just someone who says oh yeah we are going to take care of things," said Gustavo Pena, Austin native.

Pena says Chacon will have to take action, not only talk about what he will do.

"Chacon you need to come and meet with us," said Pena.

Longtime Austinite and activist Paul Saldana is giving Chacon a little scrutiny. He worries he may continue current police trends and stick to the ‘status quo’. But he pointed out that Chacon has some great qualities that can be used to help the public, in particular the Latino and Black communities, gain trust in police.

"I think it helps that Chief Chacon is Latino himself, he's bilingual," said Saldana.

"The police officers themselves seem to lack a lot of confidence in Chacon. If he wants this job he is going to have to work very hard to earn the trust and the respect of folks in the community and his own police officers," said Saldana.

Chacon was chosen last week, having been one of three finalists from a pool of 46 applicants vying for the job of top cop in Austin.

Chacon has a career spanning more than two decades. He came to APD back in 1998, and has held roles like assistant chief, and patrol commander. He was named interim chief back in March following former Austin police chief Brian Manley's retirement.

Following the confirmation, Austin Mayor Steve Adler released a statement congratulating Chacon on his new permanent position:

"Congratulations to Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon. In this selection process, he has reaffirmed his commitment to keeping our city safe and continuing innovation within the department to make a safe city even safer. As interim Chief, he has shepherded in many positive changes as part of the city's reimagining public safety initiative to ensure every community member feels safe, protected, and heard.

"Throughout this process, Chief Chacon has advocated for his officers and department, supported data-driven approach to address staffing levels, expressed his opposition to setting arbitrary staffing levels like in Proposition A, and shown his integrity by setting the record straight on misinformation that would question the high level of public safety in Austin."

Councilmember Greg Casar (District 4) also released a statement following the vote:

"We all want our families and communities to be safe, and we all want good and reformed policing. Tonight, we received commitments from Chief Chacon that he would lead on continued reductions to violent crime, reforms to police use-of-force, and improvements to victim services and the handling of sexual assault cases. Together, we will hold him and ourselves accountable to these commitments."

City of Austin narrows search for Chief of Police to 3 finalists
City identifies top seven candidates to be Austin's next police chief
45 people have applied to become Austin's next police chief
City asks for input as search for Austin police chief ramps up
SUBSCRIBE: Daily Newsletter | YouTube
FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter