AUSTIN, Texas - Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has announced Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon as the interim police chief following the retirement of Chief Brian Manley.
City officials held a news conference on Monday to announce Chacon as the interim chief and to discuss the search for the next police chief. City officials said the search will be transparent and collaborative.
"The City of Austin is committed to finding a strong leader in law enforcement who is connected to the needs of the community," said Director of Human Resources Joya Hayes. "And we recognize that this is one of the most important recruitments that we will have."
The search will be split up into three phases. A national firm, Ralph Andersen & Associates, is also being brought in to assist in the search. The recruiting firm has helped more than 35 other cities in hiring their police chiefs across the country since 2016.
"It is important that the city identify a dynamic transformational leader for the department," said Assistant City Manager for Safety Rey Arellano. "One who has the experience and the trust to build relationships with diverse communities and reimagining ways to make our whole community safe."
Phase I will begin immediately and will consist of candidate profile development. Phase II could start as early as April and last through June. This phase will be outreach and recruiting. Phase III will involve interviews and selection.
"We have ensured that this recruitment process will not only allow us to have several touchpoints, that not only allow the community to provide us feedback, but to also give us the understanding of what they look for in the core competencies of a police chief," said Hayes.
Cronk said he hopes to have a decision by August.
During this time, Chacon said he is "honored" to be named as the interim chief. In a statement to FOX 7 AUSTIN he said:
"I am honored to be named Interim Chief subject to City Council confirmation. I look forward to leading APD during this critical transition period and will fully support the nationwide search for our next permanent Police Chief."
Cronk said that he doesn't see Chacon as a placeholder, yet someone who can be an active leader during this time.
"I asked him to be an active participant who would not only take the work of our reimaging public safety team has been moving forward with, but to lean into that and make sure we are acting on the recommendations and making sure we are not losing any of the momentum we have gained thus far," Cronk said.
Cronk added that transitions are difficult, but it's about rebuilding trust.
"This was a challenging assignment not just for interim chief Joe Chacon, but also for our next police chief," he said. "I look forward to supporting their efforts and making sure they are continuing to find the balance of keeping our community safe and responding to a broader stakeholder community."